Sunday, March 27, 2011
America's water footprint
We hear a lot about carbon footprints these days, but do you know much about your water footprint?
Our water footprint includes all the water we use for everyday activities, such as washing, and what is used to produce our products, energy, and food.
It is perhaps no surprise that Americans have the biggest water footprint of any other nation. Yemen comes in at the smallest.
This short article from Yes! Magazine reveals the average American's water footprint in comparison with the rest of the world. The numbers are quite troubling.
For example, the average American uses 11.6 gallons a day for showering only. That is the same amount of water the average Bangladeshi uses per day for everything.
Also, for the record, the United Nations states that every person needs between five and 13 gallons of water per day to meet our basic needs. This makes Americans’ daily 69.3 gallons seem embarrassingly gluttonous.
I write about this not to make everyone feel guilty. Rather, I think it is important to have this knowledge to put our resource use into perspective and to consider how we can shrink our water footprint in meaningful ways.
Thankfully, Yes! Magazine also provided a few good ideas for how to live within our means and make our water last. A couple examples that seem easy for everyone to do include fixing leaky faucets and supporting organic farming, which can even improve our water supply by boosting the soil's ability to hold water.
Perhaps World Water Day, just like Earth Day, should be every day?