How Much Water Does It Cost?

This from MoneyWeek recently…

“A typical meat-eating, milk-guzzling Westerner consumes as much as a hundred times their own weight in water every day,” says Fred Pearce, former New Scientist news editor and author of When The Rivers Run Dry.

That’s because it takes between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water to grow one kilogram of rice, 11,000 litres to grow the feed for enough cow for a quarter-pound hamburger, 50 cups of water for a teaspoon of sugar and 140 litres of water to produce just one cup of coffee. The world today grows twice as much food as it did in the 1960s, but uses three times as much water to grow it. Two-thirds of all the water taken from the environment goes to irrigate crops. “This is massively unsustainable, and has led many people to conclude that the apocalypse wasn’t averted, only postponed,” says Pearce.

And the over-use of water doesn’t just apply to food production. Every T-shirt you wear will take 25 bathtubs of water to produce. Every small car uses 450,000 litres. If what you wear or drive is imported, you in the West are helping to empty rivers across the world. Water used for growing food and making products is called “virtual water”. Every tonne of wheat arriving at a dockside carries with it, in virtual form, the 1,000 tonnes of water needed to grow it, explains Pearce.

Fancy water as the new gold, or new oil? Getting more precious and powerful all the time. Here’s another stunner…

London’s long-term average rainfall has now dropped below that of Istanbul, Dallas and Nairobi, points out Juliette Jowit in The Observer.

Crossposted to the C3 Blog, where I’m back into posting again.

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