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What's Consuming Our Fresh Water Supply?

Annmarie Rodriguez

By Annmarie Rodriguez 

When attempting to live a more water-conscious life, many of us automatically think of taking shorter showers, turning the faucet off while brushing our teeth or letting our lawns brown. These are all worth while tips! However, after writing our Making Water Conservation The Norm post, I continued researching and came upon some astonishing numbers.

Many people are unaware of how much water is used to produce certain foods. According to the Department of Water Engineering and Management from the University of Twente, 

Agricultural production takes the largest share, accounting for 92% of the global WF [water footprint].

Below is a comprehensive list containing the amount of water (per gallon) required to produce particular foods (per pound). We have also included tips on how to change eating habits in order to save water, care for ourselves and care for the earth. 

Meats 

  • Beef requires 1,847 gallons of water per pound. 
  • Pork: 718 gal/lb. 
  • Chicken: 518 gal/lb. 

Nuts 

  • Almonds: 1,929 gal/lb. 
    • This number is especially relevant for California where 80% of the world's supply of almonds are produced. This fact, coupled with it's increasing demand, have added difficulties to ending California's drought. 
  • Cashews: 1,704 gal/lb. 
  • Pistachios: 1,362 gal/lb.
  • Hazelnuts & Walnuts: 1,260 gal/lb. 

Sweets 

  • Vanilla Beans 15,159 gal/lb. 
    • Keep in mind, vanilla beans are often used in very small proportions. 
  • Chocolate: 2,061 gal/lb. 
  • Cocoa powder: 1,874 gal/lb.

Vegetables 

  • Artichokes: 98 gal/lb. 
  • Eggplant: 43 gal/lb.
  • Cucumbers: 42 gal/lb.
  • Broccoli: 34 gal/lb. 
  • Lettuce: 28 gal/lb.
  • Tomato: 26 gal/lb. 

*Tips of the trade:

Work on developing trends in your eating habits.

  • Eat less animal products and processed foods. Instead, eat more plant products. This will help you save water and eat well.