When asked how much water people consume on a daily basis, they often underestimate. And not just by a little bit, people underestimate significantly. How would you figure out how much water you consume? Maybe by adding however many liters of water you drink, and how many times you flush the toilet? That is how I would have figured out my daily water use. I, too, would be incredibly wrong. Before you continue reading, please take this quick questionnaire to provide information on what you think your daily water use is.
How much water do you think you use on a daily basis?
Now that you have a general idea of how much water you use, have you thought about embodied water? Embodied water is the amount of water used to produce a product, such as a pound of beef, a cup of coffee, or a pair of denim jeans. How much water do you think it takes to make each of those? To make one pound of beef, it takes an average of 1,250 gallons of water. That’s for just one pound; the whole cow requires about 1,250,000 gallons of water to grow. One cup of coffee doesn’t just take one cup of water to make. The total embodied water to grow enough coffee beans to make one cup of coffee is approximately 70 gallons. And the amount of water it takes to grow enough cotton to make a pair of denim jeans? They require a jaw-dropping 1,800 gallons. Admittedly, people don’t usually buy a new pair of jeans per day, so for every pair of jeans you buy in a year, add 5 gallons of water per day. Now how much water do you think you consume on a daily basis? Take this poll again and tell us your new estimate of daily water usage.