Monday night I heard Steven Solomon speak at a Zocalo Town Square event held at the Rand Institute in Santa Monica. He is an authority on water and its history throughout the world. He is the author of Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. He shared some statistics on water consumption that I was not aware of. Do you know how many gallons of water it takes to make a car? Roughly 39,000. The jeans that you are wearing used about 3,000 gallons to make. What is the typical amount of water that one person in America uses per day ? 150 gallons. But look at how much water is being used in the items we are buying. That adds a lot more to the number we are using every day.
Are you a meat eater? Do you know how much water it is estimated it takes to get that meat for a hamburger? 634 gallons. Light bulb time! So I thought I was saving water by peeing 3 times before flushing (okay I do if company is coming), and by taking shorter showers, using minimal water in my yard. But for some odd reason it never dawned on me to even think about how much water is being used in products and food I am consuming. I feel pretty stupid at this point.
Here is a short list of items and the estimated amount of water needed to produce them (source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_water):
• the production of 1 kg wheat costs 1,300 L water
• the production of 1 kg eggs costs 3,300 L water
• the production of 1 kg broken rice costs 3,400 L water
• the production of 1 kg beef costs 15,500 L water
• the production of 1 cotton shirt (medium sized, 500 gram) costs 4,100 L water
• Jeans (1000g) there is 10,850 liters of embedded water
• Diaper (75g) there is 810 liters of embedded water
• Bed Sheet (900g) there is 9,750 Liters of embedded water
* 1 liter equals .26417052 gallons
What now? Now that the light bulb finally went off and thank you to Steven Solomon for popping it on for me, I am going to start thinking about not only can I afford it money wise when I go shopping, but can I afford it water wise.