You've probably all heard of carbon footprints, and maybe even measured yours—but your water footprint is just as important!
What is a water footprint?A water footprint adds up the total volume of water consumed by a particular entity within a given time period. This can be calculated for a product, service, industry, organisation, country, or even a person. It also includes both direct and indirect water consumption. So, in the case of a kilogram of beef, for example, the water footprint would include:
- The water used to grow the roughage, grains and grass they eat
- The water used to clean the animals, the barn, and maintain the environment
- The water they drink during their lifetime
- The water needed to dilute pollutants arising from production
- The water we use directly in our daily lives: showering, cleaning, cooking, gardening, etc.
- The water used to produce the food we eat
- The water used to produce the clothes we wear and the products we purchase
- The water consumed to provide us with services we use, e.g. electricity
How to reduce your water footprint
In your home...
- Shower rather than take a bath, and set a timer to keep your shower under 5 minutes
- Only run full loads of laundry and dishes
- Fix leaky taps to reduce water loss
- Use a watering can rather than hose to water your plants
- Install a water butt to catch rain water
- Recycle whenever possible
In your fridge...
- Animal products have a much higher footprint than fruit, vegetables, grains, etc. Cutting down your consumption of meat and other animal products like cheese is a great way to reduce your water footprint
- White meat has a much lower footprint than red meat, so ditch beef for chicken
- Only buy what you can eat: throwing perfectly good food away is a huge waste of water, so making a shopping list and stick to it
In your closet...
- Just one cotton t-shirt can require 2,700 litres of water! Fast fashion means that we are buying more clothes than ever before, and we need to nip this habit in the bud
- Buy second-hand or sustainably produced clothes in order to reduce your water footprint