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Two Feet = Two Footprints

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Have you ever thought of how much water is being used in making products? Here are some examples:

Including water used to grow the ingredients, it takes:
8 gallons of water to make a cup of tea.
20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer.
85 – 130 gallons of water to make a two liter bottle of Coca-Cola.
505 gallons of water to make a pair of stonewashed Levi’s 501 jeans.
700 gallons of water to produce a cotton T-shirt.
35 gallons of water to make a cup of coffee
-or-
5,500 gallons of water to produce two pounds of roasted coffee.
630 gallons of water to produce a hamburger. The bulk is used to grow grain for cattle feed.

Two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to face water scarcity by 2025, according to the United Nations. In the U.S., water managers in 36 states anticipate shortages by 2013, a General Accounting Office report shows.

“Three billion more people are going to be on this planet [by 2050],” says Stuart Orr, manager of the Freshwater Footprint Project for the World Wildlife Fund. “Somehow, we’re going to have to use the same amount of water we use today.”

In 2002, using data from the U.N.‘s Food and Agricultural Organization researchers gauged the water content that went into the making of various products and applied those statistics to people’s consumption patterns to get a rough water usage for average individuals and nations as a whole. Giving birth to the term ‘water-footprint’.

foodsTallying the water footprints of manufactured goods can be tenuous since there are no clear standards for what a water footprint should measure. Some companies measure just water used in factory operations; others count the gallons used to grow ingredients in their supply chains, and still others take stock of water that consumers use to wash clothes or dishes with their products.

Lately, water footprinting has gained credibility among corporations seeking to protect their agricultural supply chains and factory operations from future water scarcity. Last February, representatives from around 100 companies gathered in Miami for a summit on calculating and shrinking corporate water footprints.

A large water footprint isn’t necessarily bad if the product is made in an area where water is plentiful and well managed. Almost all of the water that goes into crops and food production is returned to the water cycle, either as evaporated water or in the form of polluted runoff. But it is temporarily unavailable for other uses, and may not be restored to the same aquifer, lake or river if it comes back as rainfall in another region. That poses problems for water-scarce areas.

So, it makes sense, we humans have two feet, ergo two footprints, (or is it feetprints?). Left and Right, and now, CO2 and H2O.

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No Responses to “Two Feet = Two Footprints”

  1. whamx.com Says:

    Two Feet = Two Footprints | Forced Green…

    Two-thirds of the world’s population is projected to face water scarcity by 2025, according to the United Nations. In the U.S., water managers in 36 states anticipate shortages by 2013…

  2. yanjiaren Says:

    I hope you are well. I am sorry for not visiting for a few weeks but I moved and did my back in too. Getting better now. Huggies, qi.

    yanjiarens last blog post..I have turned Veggie rofl.

  3. Linda Says:

    HI yanjiaren … Glad to see ya! Huggies back!

  4. sparkzspot Says:

    Hi friend.. Interesting post.. Nice blog work.. keep it up..
    will drop by your site often.. Do find time to visit my blog and post your comments..
    Have a great day.. Cheers!!!

  5. What Everybody Ought to Know About Oven Recipes | Discount Major Appliances Online Says:

    […] Two Feet = Two Footprints | Forced Green […]

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Sparkz … I do and thank you!

  7. LoneWolf Says:

    This is an interesting topic. In most of Canada we have rather large water footprints. I grew up taking water for granted. The past number of years I’ve been looking at ways to reduce that.

    I think that taking water used to grow crops into consideration is not that big of a concern since the much of it is returned to the air or earth as the plant grows — provided that it isn’t polluted along the way. But it would be nice to know how much water is used in manufacturing a product.

  8. Linda Says:

    Hi LoneWolf … More and more people are becoming interested in this. Perhaps Canada will as well.

  9. wilson Says:

    “5,500 gallons of water to produce two pounds of roasted coffee.”!

    WoW, in this case, I rather drink purify water than wasting 5,500 gallons of water, just to get two pounds of roasted coffee!

    wilsons last blog post..Try Not to Embrace Your Baby Too Often!

  10. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … It is amazing is it not? Imagine that amount of water for a little town in Africa and how far it would go for all of the families there!

  11. Ally Says:

    AMAZING. I never thought of this! I’m also drinking my nightly cuppa right now…not including the H2O for the drink itself, that’s 8 gallons used to grow the tea in my mug right now? Mind boggling.

  12. Linda Says:

    Hi Ally … I also did not think of how much water was used for each product either.

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