Do You Know About Your Water Footprint

Are you aware of water footprint? It indicates the total volume of water used to produce goods and services consumed by an individual or community.

Are you aware of  water footprint? It indicates the total volume of water used to produce goods and services consumed by an individual or community.

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We know that we use lot of water for drinking, cooking and washing. But do you know that we use more water for producing food, paper, cotton clothes etc.

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Water footprint is of three types; blue water footprint, green water footprint and grey water foot print. Blue water footprint refers to the volume of surface and ground water consumed for the production of goods and services. Green water footprint refers to the volume of rainwater consumed during the production of agricultural and forestry products. Blue water scarcity and green water scarcity vary each year according to the availability of blue and green water. Grey water footprint indicates the volume of freshwater that has high water quality standards after diluting the pollutants in it.

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Water footprint indicates product water footprints, corporate water footprints, national water footprints and consumer (your) water footprints. Your water footprints can be known in two ways. One is quick calculator and another one is extended calculator.

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Corporate water footprint indicates the total volume of freshwater that is used directly or indirectly to run a business.

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National water footprint refers to the total volume of fresh water used to produce the goods and services consumed by the population of the nation. This includes the portion of some water footprint lies outside of the territory too. The external water footprint refers to the use of water in other nations for the production of goods and services that are imported into the nation for the consumption.

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Whereas the water footprint within a nation indicates the total volume of freshwater consumed or polluted within the territory of the nation. You can check your country’s water footprint here.

The water footprints of some countries are listed in the table below:

Name of the Country

Average water footprint External water footprint (Outside of the country)
China 1071 m³/yr. per capita 10%
Canada 2333 m³/yr. per capita 20.7%
France 1786 m³/yr. per capita 47.3%
Germany 1426 m³/yr. per capita 68.8%
India 1089 m³/yr. per capita 2.5%
Israel 2303 m³/yr. per capita 81.5%
Italy 2303 m³/yr. per capita 60.7%
Japan 1379 m³/yr. per capita 76.9%
Mexico 1978 m³/yr. per capita 42.5%
Philippines 1378 m³/yr. per capita 13.5%
South Africa 1255 m³/yr. per capita 22%
Switzerland 1528 m³/yr. per capita 82.3%
UAE 3136 m³/yr. per capita 75.7%
United Kingdom 1258 m³/yr. per capita 75.2%
USA 2842 m³/yr. per capita 20.2%

Product water footprint refers the consumption of water for the production of edibles or paper etc. It differs with each product. Animal products like beef, coffee consumption and use of cotton clothes have a higher water footprint.

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The water footprint for some products:

• Apple (100grams) – 70 liters

• Orange – 50 liters

• One egg – 200 liters

• Beef (1kg) – 15500 liters

• Pork (1kg) – 4800 liters

• Chicken (1kg) – 3900 liters

• Goat meat (1kg) – 4000 liters

• Sheep meat (1kg) – 6100 liters

• One hamburger – 2400 liters

• Beer (250ml) – 75 liters

• Wine (125ml) – 120 liters

• Wheat bread (1kg) – 1600 liters

• Cheese (1kg) – 5000 liters

• Coconut (1kg) – 2500 liters

• Coffee (125ml) – 140 liters

• Roasted coffee (1kg) – 21000 liters

• Tea (250ml) – 30 liters

• Tea (1kg) – 2400 liters

• 1 cotton shirt (250gram) – 2700 liters

• Cotton (1kg) – 10000 liters

• Leather (1kg) – 16600 liters

• Milk (1liter) – 1000 liters

• Paper (A4) – 10 liters

• Potato (1kg flakes) – 900 liters

• Rice (1kg) – 3400 liters

• Maize or corn (1kg) – 900 liters

• Wheat (1kg) – 1300 liters

• Cane sugar (1kg) – 1500 liters

Since freshwater is a scarce resource, it is our duty to save this precious resource. We can reduce our direct water consumption by installing water-saving showerheads and toilets and using less water. It is difficult to reduce the indirect water consumption because we cannot change our consumption pattern drastically. However we can minimize it by selecting coffee, beef etc. from the areas that do not have water scarcity.

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