Your Water Footprint

What's a Water Footprint?

A water footprint is the amount of water utilized in the production or supply of the good and services used by a particular person or group. It is defined by the total volume of fresh water in relation to consumption by people. 

There are three types of water footprints: Green, Blue, and Grey

Green Water Footprint: the amount of rainwater required to produce a product. 

Blue Water Footprint: the amount of groundwater or surface water required to produce a product. 

Grey Water Footprint: the amount of freshwater required to dilute pollutants to meet particular water quality standards (ex. the US Clean Water Act)

Did you know...

  • Your morning cup of coffee (8 fluid oz) requires 37 gallons of virtual water to produce.
  • One cup of black tea using one teabag, on the other hand, needs 9 gallowns of cirtual water to grow, process, and brew
  • The water footprint of one disposable diaper is 144 gallons. A reusable cloth diaper's footprint is just four gallons. (Though the cotton required for one of these diapers is 198 gallons, the simple fact it will be reused up to 50 times brings that number down.)
  • Producing two pounds of wet food for your cat or dog requires 3,667 gallons of water.
  • It takes 2,000 gallons of water to grow the cotton for and manufacture one pair of jeans
  • Making two pounds of paper requires 793 gallons of water.
  • Producing one smartphone - everything from mining metals to publioshing the glass screens to making microchips - requires 240 gallows of water.

Why is it important to reduce your water footprint?

Currently in the United States, there are serious water shortages in places like California, Arizona, and Texas. This lack of water affects the ability to grow economically and continue forward with population growth. There is no way to produce more water, so it is necessary for us to conserve and manage water. This is a valuable resource! Once we run out of what we have, there is no going back! There are areas in the United States where water is taken for granted. North America uses the most amount of water with approximately 1,800 gallons per day, per person.

So what can you do to help reduce your direct water footprint?

  • Water the lawn less often
  • Use low flow toilets
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth
  • Install a water-saving shower head
  • Take shorter showers
  • Use less water cleaning or gardening

There are also many indirect ways to reduce your water footprint…

  • Eat less meat
  • Drink tea instead of coffee
  • Eat less processed food
  • Try out your local produce
  • Cut down on sugar
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Direct water is the fresh water we use each day for drinking, cooking, showering, washing dishes and clothes, etc. Indirect water usage refers to the water that is consumed during manufacturing of goods and services that we use. This includes the water used to grow the food we eat and the items we produce for daily life – books, furniture, clothes, etc. There is no way we can stop using water in our every days lives, it is impossible. Taking charge and watching your use of direct and indirect water is important. There will be a day when the next generation will thank you!