Water Footprint

We are all starving for attention and it is very encouraging to know that you are there reading and thinking about what you read. Your feedbacks are very encouraging and valuable and I greatly appreciate them. This has prompted a new idea….

water footprintBy way of background here is how it all began. Together with six global partners including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and UNESCO, the University of Twente (UT) in The Netherlands found the Water Footprint Network on October 16, 2008. The ‘water footprint’, developed by UT Professor Arjen Hoekstra, gives a detailed insight into the water consumption of individuals, companies and countries.

The ‘water footprint’ measures the amount of water that a country, company or individual uses each year. This includes the water needed to produce goods: the water withdrawn from surface as well as ground water and soil water.

For a simple cup of coffee, for example, an average of 140 litres of water is needed, 2,700 litres for a cotton shirt, 16,000 for a kilo of beef. Taking all this into account on a global scale, we get a water footprint of 7,500 billion cubic metres a year. Per individual this is an average of 1,250 cubic meters a year.

An American citizen uses twice that amount, a Chinese or Indian citizen far less. Thus, the water footprint also indicates the geographic spread. *

Now you get the general idea of what a ‘Water Foot Print’ is. So here is an idea: how will it be if each of us only focus on the individual water consumption and measure it per household and map it for ourselves.

For example, I drink two bottles of water this is about a quarter bucket, and for my cooking and cleaning I need say about a bucket of water and one more for my bathing and two more for washing clothes and we are four people living at home. So we consume per day 4.25 buckets consumption per person, multiplied by4, plus I have dog who consumes half a bucket, half a bucket to water my house plants and two for swabbing the floor. 17+1+2 buckets of water for my family per day.

Easy to report and collect and just see the variation we will get even within ourselves. If each of you reading this, could write back we can play with this idea a bit more, besides the buckets you consume, let me know where you stay and the source of water ground water or surface.…. do write back, please.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Twente (2008, October 20). ‘Water Footprint’ Promotes Sustainable And Fair Use Of Water Resources. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2008/10/081016084053.htm


Environmental anthropologist by training, been in the field for over 20 years, Gialome (pseudonym) is mainly concerned with the impacts of infrastructure and technology projects on local communities.

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