When you think of the water one needs daily, you probably are going to answer; water to drink; to shower and clean after oneself. These are the obvious examples of water footprint. Water footprint is the amount of fresh water we consumed and polluted. That is also for the goods and services we consume every day.
Never occur to your mind that many things you consume daily also contribute water footprint more that you expect. Water footprint of products to fulfil humans’ needs is real. As every industry require water. These products are some of the example.
The biggest contribution to water footprint is human’s diet. It takes more than 1000 gallons of water each day per person to produce food and drinks in the average U.S. diet. In general, the food we consume makes up more than 66 per cent of total water footprint. Look at some of these products.
Beef – 15,415 liters of water
In order to make beef, you have to raise a cow until certain age. One pound or 453.6 grams of beef requires 1,799 gallons of water. this includes the irrigation of the grains and grasses in feed. Plus water for cow drinking and beef processing.
As we all know, the process of making beef includes raising the cow. Which is mean, feeding the cow with proper grasses in adequate amount.
Hamburger – 2,393 liters of water
One of the menu available in McDonald’s, The Quarter Pounder only costs $3. But do you know how much water it needs to make one? 1,300 gallons of water to make the burger dish with 113.4 gram of patty. Most of the water is for producing the beef patty. Not only that, making a burger is a multi-step process. As it requires to raise a cattle, growing wheat for bun and vegetables as part of the dish.
Cheese – 2271 liters of water
A pound of cheese requires 2271 liters or 600 gallons of water. if you think of it, cheese has a long journey. Starting with raising a cattle up to processing the milk.
Rice – 2,497 liters of water
There are two type of water for water production. irrigation water withdrawn from surface water (blue water) and rainwater (green water). According to waterfootprint.org, in the period 2000-04, the global average water footprint of paddy rice was 1325 m3/ton. It consist of 48 per cent green water, 44 per cent of blue water, and 8 per cent of grey water. Grey water is water related to the use of nitrogen fertilisers in production.
Apple – 82 liters of water
This to produce one apple. Meanwhile to make one cup of apple juice ,or equivalent to 250 ml, needs about 227 liters of water.
Chocolate – 1,720 liters of water
On average, cocoa beans need 20,000 liter of water per kilogram. The beans then turns to cocoa paste. One kilogram of cocoa beans make up about 800 gram of paste. This paste water footprint is 24,000 liter per kilogram. It still need to be process to make chocolate bar. At the end, a 100-gram chocolate bar costs 1700 liters of water.
Beer – 66 liters of water per liter
Everybody knows thi is beverage. Which makes it obvious that it is a kind of liquid and made of water. Gizmodo mentioned that it need 170 Liters of water to make a pint (473 milliliter) of beer. Most water are used to grow barley. According to LATimes, a pound of barley need about 749.5 liters of water.
Coffee – 132 liters of water per cup
To make 1 gallon of coffee (3.78 liter), it requires 880 gallons/3331 liters of water. meaning, 1 cup of coffee uses 132-140 liters or water. National Geographic notes, “if everyone in the world drank a cup of coffee each morning, it would ‘cost’ about 32 trillion gallons of water a year.” This number is also depends on how one likes ones coffee. As sugar, milk and chocolate powder used are also require water to be made.
Loaf of Bread – 48 liters of water
This much amount of water is require mostly for producing wheat. As a comparison, 1 pound of wheat needs 500 litres of water. Globally, it takes 1300 liters of water for 1 kilogram of bread.
Pizza – 1,216 liters of water
The base of pizza is made of bread wheat flour. There are also ingredient such as cheese, tomato sauce and various topping. Forbes quotes that a single slice of pizza needs 42 gallons (159 liters) of water. 18 gallon for the flour, 21 gallons for the cheese and 2.5 gallons for the sauce. In comparison, a 725 gram of pizza margherita in Italy needs 1216 liters of water. If you use fresh tomatoes instead of industrial tomatoes, the total water used will be 1244 liters. But the largest contribution to water footprint of margherita pizza is mozzarella. It is 890 liter in total for 725 gram of pizza.
Same Food, Different Water Footprint
Bear in mind that the ingredient of processed food are varies. Depending on the recipes the producers has. Plus, for processed food, water is also needed to wash the ingredient, clean machinery and part of recipe. Although whole food such as fruit and rice does not undergo process similar to processed food, the water it needs is also varies to climate of the place it grows. Thus, there has been differences between one source to the other when it comes to water footprints of produces. But the amount of water footprint is still astonishing.
To produce many different things you consume on regular, the industry need water. As nearly every step in multi-step process in almost all industry needs water.
Next time you use water, keep that in mind that you are not the only one using it. You share the 3 per cent of freshwater available with other living creatures. Plants and animal.