The water footprint of an individual refers to the sum of his or her direct and indirect freshwater use. The direct water use is the water used at home, while the indirect water use relates to the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed.
The average global water footprint of an individual is 1,385 m3 per year. The average consumer in the United States has a water footprint of 2,842 m3 per year, while the average resident in China and India has a water footprint of 1,071 and 1,089 m3 per year, respectively. The average Finnish water footprint is 1,730 m³ water per person per year, while the water footprint of the U.K. is 1,695 m³ water/person/year.
An individual’s daily diet of fruits, vegetables and grains requires more than 1,500 litres (396.3 US gal) of water, as compared to 3,400 litres (898.2 US gal) needed for a daily diet rich in animal protein. Research by the Cranfield University calculated the amount of water required to produce various common foods in the United Kingdom:
1 cup of tea = 32.4L
1 imperial pint of beer = 160L
1 glass of wine = 120L
1 glass of milk = 200L
1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of beef = 15,000L
1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of poultry = 6,000L
250 grams (8.8 oz) packet of M&M’s = 1,153L
575 grams (20.3 oz) jar of Dolmio pasta sauce = 202L
Please try and reduce your water footprint. One doesn’t have to become vegetarian, but eating less meat won’t kill anybody; quite the contrary.