graphic:link to home
Sustainable Food Guide
Environmental Practice at Work © 2005 Link:EP@W Ltd Web Site
 Water Issues...

"A typical meat-eating, milk guzzling, westerner consumes as much as a hundred times their own weight in water every day" (New Scientist 25 Feb 2006 Fred Pearce).

It takes over a 1000 cups of water to make the coffee for your cup. And 50 cups for a spoonful of sugar. It takes 2-5,000 litres of rice to grow the kilogramme of rice you buy.

It takes anywhere between 1,000 L and 5,500 L to produce the food we eat in a day in Britain, depending on our diet. By contrast, UK daily water use in the home averages 153 L (Food Ethics Council Water Report link due)

To make matters worse, a lot of the water used to grow these tasty commodities comes not from dammed up rivers but from pumps that are sucking up ground water creating disaster for the future. Millions of hand dug wells are drying up across India. Many more are to follow as rain does not restock this water. Where does all the water go?

"Virtual Water"

Water that is tied up in growing and manufacturing products is called "virtual water". Approaching one tenth of all the water used in raising crops goes into the international virtual water trade. It moves volumes of water in volumes and colossal distances. Water equivalent to '20 Niles' is being moved around the world each year.

A main part of the success of the "Green Revolution" was built on increased irrigation systems.

The world today grows twice as much food as a generation ago. But it takes three times as much water to do it.


back to previous screen back

Follow dumbells

next forward to the next screen