Photo: Diego G Diaz/Shutterstock

What's Your Water Footprint?

by Julie Schwietert Mar 22, 2009
You’ve heard about carbon footprints.

MAYBE YOU’VE EVEN used an online calculator, like this one provided by the Nature Conservancy, to determine how your daily activities contribute to carbon emissions.

But have you heard of a “water footprint”?

It may just be the new buzzword in the eco-movement.

GOOD Magazine explains:

“As we become more and more aware that we may be using water at an unsustainable pace, the idea of water footprints—the amount of water an individual uses—is becoming more common.”

Yet, the magazine notes, calculating one’s water footprint may be even more challenging than calculating a carbon footprint, “since everything you eat and buy used some water to produce.”

Fortunately, GOOD put together a handy chart to help you get a sense of just how much water you’re using. The chart distinguishes between “direct use,” the actual water you use, and “virtual use,” the water used to make the objects you use but which you’re unlikely to see or be able to measure.

Today’s a great day to check out GOOD’s chart- it’s World Water Day.

Let me know if you’re as surprised as I was to learn that coffee requires 37 gallons of virtual water to produce that one cup you drink each morning? Or that tea requires 9 gallons of virtual water? (Yet one more reason why tea wins the smackdown against coffee!).

Community Connection:

Did you know that global water consumption is doubling every 20 years? Do you have ideas about how you can reduce your own water consumption? Check out this article from our archives and share your ideas in the comments.

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