I have written elsewhere that while I believe in responsible use of water, I also maintain that conservation is really not an effective long-term solution to our clean water shortages.
For sure, if we know that an aquifer is close to running dry, we have to consume less and waste less. However, in the grand scheme of things, most of man’s water use is for agriculture, and most of the products man consumes are heavily based in raw materials that come from water-thirsty crop production. Consider the following water thoughts.
- 1,800 gallons of fresh water are required to make one pair of blue jeans
- 2,000 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 gallon of whole milk
- 1,000 gallons of fresh water to produce 1 gallon of almond milk
- 4,000 gallons of water are needed to grow one bushel of corn
- 11,000 gallons to grow one bushel of wheat
- 135,000 gallons to grow one ton of alfalfa
- 1,000 gallons of water to grow the wheat to make a two-pound loaf of bread, and about 120 gallons to produce one egg
- 1,400 gallons of water are used to produce a meal of a quarter- pound hamburger, an order of fries and a soft drink
- 48,000 gallons are used to make Thanksgiving dinner for eight
- 400 gallons to produce the cotton in a T-shirt
- 39,000 gallons of water to produce the average domestic auto, including tires
- 20 gallons of water to make a pint of beer
- 150 gallons to make a 2-liter bottle of cola
So are we ready to stop drinking soda and milk? Are we ready to stop buying jeans and cotton shirts?
The takeaway here is that we need to accept the sobering facts about our water supply. The reality is that when we every-day people switch to low volume toilets or shut the faucet during teeth brushing, we aren’t really having much impact on extending the life of our water resources. The magic required to provide water for everyone in the world, is innovation, technology, and engineering; all focused on recycling the water we use.