The Water Footprint Network defines the concept as "the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business." This includes everything from drinking and washing to the water used to produce our food, paper, and clothing.
When it comes to food, it takes, for example, about 18 gallons of water to produce one apple, 53 gallons for one egg, and 2,050 gallons for a pound of beef. Thinking about this can be overwhelming and, of course, we should remember that water is just one aspect among many when considering the links between our diet, the environment, and other factors that might be important to us. But we are committed to learning more.
Personally, I am starting to eat less of certain foods and am especially mindful and grateful when I do eat big water guzzlers. I am also excited to support practitioners of dry farming. In the kitchen, I am using less water for boiling and trying to cook with fewer dishes and utensils so there is less washing up required (for some reason, this is a really difficult one for me, but I am trying!).
Is your water footprint something you consider? Do you have any tips or thoughts?
• Water Footprint Product Gallery and Calculator, from Water Footprint Network
• What's Your Water Footprint?, from Mother Jones
• From Lettuce to Beef, What's the Water Footprint of Your Food?, from Treehugger
• Food products should carry 'water footprint' information, says report, from The Guardian
• The Best Dirt on Dry Farming: Conserving Water (and Making Great Wine), from Greenopia
(Image: Water Footprint Network)