In my last bulletin, I talked a bit about the concept of embodied water, the amount of water which is used directly or indirectly during the growing, processing and transportation of the goods we use or consume, or the services we use. I would like to continue that topic and talk about a Water Footprint.
The water footprint of a person, company or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the commodities, goods and services consumed by the person, company or nation. The idea of the water footprint is quite similar to the ecological footprint, but focuses on the use of water. What may come as a surprise is that very little of that water - only 5 % - runs through toilets, taps, and garden hoses at home. Nearly 95 % of your water footprint is hidden in the food you eat, energy you use, products you buy, and services you rely on.
The virtual-water content of a product (a commodity, good or service) is the volume of freshwater used to produce the product, measured at the place where the product was actually produced (production-site definition). It refers to the sum of the water use in the various steps of the production chain. The adjective 'virtual' refers to the fact that most of the water used to produce a product is not contained in the product. The real-water content of products is generally negligible if compared to the virtual-water content.
The water footprint of individuals varies, as does the water footprint of countries. Check out the list below to see how 10 different countries compare. The first number indicates the cubic meters of water used, per person, per year; while the second number refers to the annual domestic water withdrawl per person:
· United States: 2483 m³ water/capita/yr. - 60.8 m³
· Canada: 2049 m³ water/capita/yr. - 8.55 m³
· France: 1875 m³ water/capita/yr. - 6.16 m³
· Belgium/Luxembourg: 1809 m³ water/capita/yr. - 1.09 m³
· Sweden: 1621 m³ water/capita/yr. - 1.07 m³
· Germany: 1545 m³ water/capita/yr. - 5.45 m³
· U.K. : 1245 m³ water/capita/yr. - 2.21 m³
· Netherlands: 1223 m³ water/capita/yr. - 0.44 m³
· Egypt: 1097 m³ water/capita/yr. - 4.16 m³
· China: 702 m³ water/capita/yr. - 33.32 m³
(For a more extensive list of countries, click on the following link here - starts on pg. 55)
As you can see, there is a real range in the water footprint of countries as well as the domestic water use by individuals. I urge you to calculate your water footprint, which is very easy to do using the link here. How do you compare to the list above?
Have an iPhone? There is a Virtual Water app available
to help you become more conscious about how much water our everyday food and beverages really consume. Use the slider to adjust the amount of each product. swipe to navigate and compare products. Flip to get quick facts. The app supports the metric as well as the US customary system. For details, click here
Read more at http://waterfootprint.org