Wake up, make yourself a cup of coffee, eat some bacon and eggs, shower, brush your teeth, put on a nice outfit and drive to work. Seems like a normal day, right? Well little did you know you guzzled 150 liters (about half the volume of a bathtub) of water today. That is outside of the hidden water in the products we consume making it a scary 4,645 liters of water guzzled a day.
Water is the single most essential element in the world and a vital source of life. Less than 1% of the Earth’s fresh water supply is fit for human consumption, and much of that is being compromised by over utilization, contamination, and climatic influences. The global demand for water will outstrip supply by 40 percent by the year 2030 predict leading experts. In addition to the impact from climate change which has led to changes to the water cycle, leading to prolonged periods of drought (and, conversely, more extreme rainfall) in some areas.
It takes a lot of water to produce food, to make energy and to manufacture consumer products. This is what is known as virtual water. Virtual water or “indirect” water is the water “hidden” in the products, services, or processes that we consume and use every day.
Therefore, it is important for every individual, business, and household to ask themselves, “What is my water footprint?” as everything we use, wear, buy, sell, and eat takes water to make. “The water footprint is a measure of humanity’s appropriation of fresh water in volumes water consumed and/ or polluted.” The water footprint looks at both direct (directly used water) to virtual (indirect water consumed through production).
Why should we be so concerned with our water footprint?
- 2.7 Billion people are affected by water scarcity for at least one month each year.
- 1 Billion people globally do not have access to clean, drinkable water.
- By the year 2040 there will not be enough water in the world to quench the thirst of the world population.
Now that’s a big water problem! Many of us have no idea what our daily water usage is, but we know that current and future water crises mean we need to use water as productively as we can. This Water Footprint Calculator will help you figure out what is your daily water usage.
Here are some helpful minor changes you can do that will make a significant difference on the water of tomorrow:
Water sustainability is a big concern as the demand for water is on the steep rise, but the supply of water is rapidly decreasing. These footprints give everyone a solid frame of reference that helps the world be more efficient and sustainable with water use. By understanding our water footprints, we can appreciate the role water plays in everyone’s lives. Make the change to today for the good of water tomorrow.