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Community blue planet earth  the amount of water you use | Newsletter Lifestyle

Blue Planet Earth: The Amount Of Water You Use

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by: Sharai Hoekema
blue planet earth  the amount of water you use | Newsletter

When looking at our planet from space, there is one thing that is sure to stand out: the gorgeous blue colour. We are not called the Blue Planet for nothing, as over 75% of our surface area is covered by bodies of water. Our oceans, seas, lakes, rivers - all serving as the lifeblood of, well - life.
Much of our flora and fauna depends on water, as illustrated by the widespread devastation caused by draughts. Not having enough water will cause crops to fail, plants to die, and animals and humans to flee the affected area. Illnesses and pests are unavoidable, as is loss of land and livelihood altogether.
Yet with the majority of our planet covered by bodies of water, one can assume that this is one resource that we will surely not run out of. Unfortunately, you could not be more wrong. About 97.5% of that water is actually salt water - which is great for dipping your toes into on your beach holiday, but utterly useless for drinking, hydration or irrigation purposes. This leaves us with 2.5% of freshwater that is available for us to quench our thirst, so to speak. Now, you have to realise that we use about 10 billion m³ per day. A m³ equals 1.000 liters. So altogether, we consume 10 trilion liters - every single day! Scientists have been warning us that this is in excess of current supplies, meaning that supply is dwindling steadily.

We are faced with a dripping faucet that we just do not care enough about to find a plumber for.

What is our average daily water usage?

When estimating how much water you use on average, you will not only have to consider the amount that we use to drink, shower, or wash our clothes - but also the amount ‘wasted’ on or in the products that we consume. If you are living in a moderate climate and are not overly active, you might be able to make do with about 5 liters of water each day. Keeping this in mind, you might be shocked to find out that the average American uses between 380 to 660 liters of water per day. A number that should not be hard to cut back on, as it is so, so much. Just imagine logging 660 liter bottles of water from your local supermarket home - every single day. Chances are that there will not even be enough inventory to meet your needs. 

What do we do with this water, you might ask? Well, simply brushing your teeth with the water running or washing your hands can cost 5 liters. Flushing the toilet will add 11 liters to your tally, while taking a bath accounts for 120 liters. Opting for the shower instead? Then you will be consuming about 20 liters per minute. Doing laundry can easily use up 150 liters of water per load.

Daily water usage 

You ‘eat’ water every day

Still, we are not the ‘main’ problem. Agriculture alone can consume 72 to 90% of a region’s available freshwater. The production of 1 ton of grain requires 1.000 tons of water, while a single serving of steak costs about 4,600 liters to produce. How about that? 

Global water footprint

Of course, you never actually get to see any water while consuming those products. This is why it is often referred to as virtual water. This is water that is required to produce items that we use on an everyday basis, such as paper, clothes and food items. When including this in the equation, it can add up to about 3,500 liters of water per person per day. Thus, we might do well to understand how we can reduce our consumption of this virtual water. 

Water needed for the products you eat?

Food: Quantity Water consumption, litres
     
Chocolate 1 kg 24.000
Beef 1 kg 15.500
Sheep meat 1 kg 10.500
Pork 1 kg 4.800
Butter 1 kg 5.500
Olives 1 kg 4.400
Chicken Meat 1 kg 3.900
Cheese 1 kg 3.200
Rice 1 kg 2.500
Cotton 250 gram 2.500
Pasta (dry) 1 kg 1.800
Bread 1 kg 1.600
Pizza 1 unit 1.200
Banana 1 kg 800
Potatoes 1 kg 300
Milk 1 glass, 250 ml 250
Cabbage 1 kg 240
Tomato 1 kg 210
Egg 1 200
Wine 1 glass, 250 ml 110
Beer 1 glass, 250 ml 75
Tea 1 cup, 250 ml 30
     
Common Consumer Items:    
     
Car 1 52.000/83.000
Leather Shoes Pair 13.700
Smart Phone (Mobile) 1 12.000
Bed Sheet (Cotton) 1 11.000
Jeans (Cotton) 1 8.000
T-Shirt (Cotton) 1 2.500

What is virtual water?

So, virtual water is not directly visible to you like tap water or your sprinkler system is. Instead, it is water contained in the products that you consume. Remember the steak I mentioned before? Did you not believe the math? Well, then consider that a cow has to eat 1,300 kilograms of grains for 3 years before it can be slaughtered. Upon being slaughtered, it delivers roughly 200 kilograms of beef. The sum of water required by these grains and the amount of water consumed by the cow adds up to 3 million liters of water - or about 4,600 liters for each serving of approximately 300 grams.

Did you print out some documents at work today? Then know that it costs 10 liters of water per sheet of paper. Did you grab a bottle of water to hydrate yourself? This did not only cost you half a liter of water for the actual liquid, but also another 5 liters just to produce the bottle. Crazy, when you think of it!

Our water footprint daily products
Click on: WaterFootprint

Water use by country

There are quite significant differences between the water use of specific countries. The average amount of water as consumed by American citizens, for instance, represents the highest end of the spectrum. This is largely the result of the United States’ beef-eating habit, with quite the consumption number of meat per capita. One of the country’s favourite comfort foods - hamburgers - already require 2,400 liters per piece! Furthermore, there are a lot of industrial products operational in the country, that are notorious for their excessive water consumption. 

Another ‘big user’ is Italy. Although it is a pretty small country, it still rakes up an impressive water bill. On average, Italians use 380 liters of water per day. A large portion of this is once again related to the local foods eaten - when taking the water footprint of pizza and pasta into account, this average consumption will increase by a factor 17. For instance, making a ‘regular’ pizza margarita requires some 1,200 liters of water; while a kilo of pasta requires 1,900 liters of water. Getting rid of those national foods seem to be a sure way of saving water.

Global water footprint 

India and China might boast a lower per capita consumption, at 98 liters and 90 liters per day respectively, they do however suffer from severe overpopulation. As there are simply so many of them, these countries have a massive water footprint. Enter the large agricultural and industrial sectors in this equation, and it is not hard to see why these countries both hold a share of 12% in the total global water consumption. Water shortages are hardly uncommon in these regions, making it important for them to guarantee a steady supply of fresh water.

What can you do?

While conserving water in everything that you do might already help - be it taking a shorter shower, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, or not watering your garden every single day -, it is more effective to become a conscious shopper. Focus on purchasing products that require less water to produce, which, coincidentally, also happen to be the healthier options - such as grains, fruits and vegetables.

Saving water 

Eating meat will already add 5.000 liters to your personal water footprint every single day. Just imagine the savings if you were to reduce this in your diet. And once manufacturers start to notice that consumers care more about products that save water, they will inevitably start looking at ways of reducing their own consumption. 

While it may sometimes feel like the literal drop in an ocean, it is important to realise that water is a precious resource and that even the smallest action you take to waste less of it will ultimately matter.

https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle

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Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: info@whatsorb.com or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

Get updates on environmental sustainability in your mailbox every month.

Blue Planet Earth: The Amount Of Water You Use

When looking at our planet from space, there is one thing that is sure to stand out: the gorgeous blue colour. We are not called the Blue Planet for nothing, as over 75% of our surface area is covered by bodies of water. Our oceans, seas, lakes, rivers - all serving as the lifeblood of, well - life. Much of our flora and fauna depends on water, as illustrated by the widespread devastation caused by draughts. Not having enough water will cause crops to fail, plants to die, and animals and humans to flee the affected area. Illnesses and pests are unavoidable, as is loss of land and livelihood altogether. Yet with the majority of our planet covered by bodies of water, one can assume that this is one resource that we will surely not run out of. Unfortunately, you could not be more wrong. About 97.5% of that water is actually salt water - which is great for dipping your toes into on your beach holiday, but utterly useless for drinking, hydration or irrigation purposes.  This leaves us with 2.5% of freshwater that is available for us to quench our thirst, so to speak. Now, you have to realise that we use about 10 billion m³ per day. A m³ equals 1.000 liters. So altogether, we consume 10 trilion liters - every single day! Scientists have been warning us that this is in excess of current supplies, meaning that supply is dwindling steadily. We are faced with a dripping faucet that we just do not care enough about to find a plumber for. What is our average daily water usage? When estimating how much water you use on average, you will not only have to consider the amount that we use to drink, shower, or wash our clothes - but also the amount ‘wasted’ on or in the products that we consume. If you are living in a moderate climate and are not overly active, you might be able to make do with about 5 liters of water each day.  Keeping this in mind, you might be shocked to find out that the average American uses between 380 to 660 liters of water per day. A number that should not be hard to cut back on, as it is so, so much . Just imagine logging 660 liter bottles of water from your local supermarket home - every single day . Chances are that there will not even be enough inventory to meet your needs.   What do we do with this water, you might ask? Well, simply brushing your teeth with the water running or washing your hands can cost 5 liters. Flushing the toilet will add 11 liters to your tally, while taking a bath accounts for 120 liters. Opting for the shower instead? Then you will be consuming about 20 liters per minute. Doing laundry can easily use up 150 liters of water per load.   You ‘eat’ water every day Still, we are not the ‘main’ problem. Agriculture alone can consume 72 to 90% of a region’s available freshwater. The production of 1 ton of grain requires 1.000 tons of water, while a single serving of steak costs about 4,600 liters to produce. How about that?   Of course, you never actually get to see any water while consuming those products. This is why it is often referred to as virtual water. This is water that is required to produce items that we use on an everyday basis, such as paper, clothes and food items. When including this in the equation, it can add up to about 3,500 liters of water per person per day. Thus, we might do well to understand how we can reduce our consumption of this virtual water.   Water needed for the products you eat? Food: Quantity Water consumption, litres       Chocolate 1 kg 24.000 Beef 1 kg 15.500 Sheep meat 1 kg 10.500 Pork 1 kg 4.800 Butter 1 kg 5.500 Olives 1 kg 4.400 Chicken Meat 1 kg 3.900 Cheese 1 kg 3.200 Rice 1 kg 2.500 Cotton 250 gram 2.500 Pasta (dry) 1 kg 1.800 Bread 1 kg 1.600 Pizza 1 unit 1.200 Banana 1 kg 800 Potatoes 1 kg 300 Milk 1 glass, 250 ml 250 Cabbage 1 kg 240 Tomato 1 kg 210 Egg 1 200 Wine 1 glass, 250 ml 110 Beer 1 glass, 250 ml 75 Tea 1 cup, 250 ml 30       Common Consumer Items:           Car 1 52.000/83.000 Leather Shoes Pair 13.700 Smart Phone (Mobile) 1 12.000 Bed Sheet (Cotton) 1 11.000 Jeans (Cotton) 1 8.000 T-Shirt (Cotton) 1 2.500 What is virtual water? So, virtual water is not directly visible to you like tap water or your sprinkler system is. Instead, it is water contained in the products that you consume.  Remember the steak I mentioned before? Did you not believe the math? Well, then consider that a cow has to eat 1,300 kilograms of grains for 3 years before it can be slaughtered. Upon being slaughtered, it delivers roughly 200 kilograms of beef. The sum of water required by these grains and the amount of water consumed by the cow adds up to 3 million liters of water - or about 4,600 liters for each serving of approximately 300 grams. Did you print out some documents at work today? Then know that it costs 10 liters of water per sheet of paper. Did you grab a bottle of water to hydrate yourself? This did not only cost you half a liter of water for the actual liquid, but also another 5 liters just to produce the bottle. Crazy, when you think of it! Click on:  WaterFootprint Water use by country There are quite significant differences between the water use of specific countries. The average amount of water as consumed by American citizens, for instance, represents the highest end of the spectrum. This is largely the result of the United States’ beef-eating habit, with quite the consumption number of meat per capita. One of the country’s favourite comfort foods - hamburgers - already require 2,400 liters per piece! Furthermore, there are a lot of industrial products operational in the country, that are notorious for their excessive water consumption.   Another ‘big user’ is Italy. Although it is a pretty small country, it still rakes up an impressive water bill. On average, Italians use 380 liters of water per day. A large portion of this is once again related to the local foods eaten - when taking the water footprint of pizza and pasta into account, this average consumption will increase by a factor 17. For instance, making a ‘regular’ pizza margarita requires some 1,200 liters of water; while a kilo of pasta requires 1,900 liters of water. Getting rid of those national foods seem to be a sure way of saving water.   India and China might boast a lower per capita consumption, at 98 liters and 90 liters per day respectively, they do however suffer from severe overpopulation. As there are simply so many of them, these countries have a massive water footprint. Enter the large agricultural and industrial sectors in this equation, and it is not hard to see why these countries both hold a share of 12% in the total global water consumption. Water shortages are hardly uncommon in these regions, making it important for them to guarantee a steady supply of fresh water. What can you do? While conserving water in everything that you do might already help - be it taking a shorter shower, turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, or not watering your garden every single day -, it is more effective to become a conscious shopper. Focus on purchasing products that require less water to produce, which, coincidentally, also happen to be the healthier options - such as grains, fruits and vegetables .   Eating meat will already add 5.000 liters to your personal water footprint every single day. Just imagine the savings if you were to reduce this in your diet . And once manufacturers start to notice that consumers care more about products that save water, they will inevitably start looking at ways of reducing their own consumption.   While it may sometimes feel like the literal drop in an ocean, it is important to realise that water is a precious resource and that even the smallest action you take to waste less of it will ultimately matter. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/community/lifestyle