How much water do we really use?
The internet is full of tips on how to save water around the house, and we would like to think we are all doing our bit. We save water by installing water filters in our homes and offices. In schools up and down the country children as young as 6 are being taught to:
- Turn off the tap when brushing teeth.
- Shower, don’t bath.
- Only flush the toilet when really needed.
- Don’t boil a whole kettle of water for one cup of tea.
Many of us like to consider ourselves knowledgeable on water usage and are going some way to ensure our individual usage is kept to a minimum. It seems with organisations such as Wateraid, Pump Aid and the lesser known Three Avocado’s, our awareness of global water shortages is never far from our comfortably hydrated minds.
How much water do we use everyday?
This list supplied by Tap Tips gives us an indication of the huge amounts of water these household items utilise:
Bath – 80 litres
5 Minute Shower – 35 litres
Power Shower – 125 litres
Brushing Teeth with Tap running – 6 litres per minute
Brushing Teeth with Tap off – 1 litre per minute
W.C. Flush standard – 9 litres
W.C. Flush modern (with balloon) – 6 litres
Washing machine(normal cycle) – 45 litres
Dishwasher (normal cycle) – 20 litres
How much water does it take to produce:
Beef 1 kg – 15,415 litres
Butter 1 kg – 5,553 litres
Chicken 1 kg – 4,325 litres
Cheese 1 kg – 3,178 litres
Rice 1 kg – 2,497 litres
Pasta (dry) 1 kg – 1,849 litres
Bread 1 kg – 1,608 litres
Pizza 1 slice – 1,239 litres
Apple 1 kg – 822 litres
Potatoes 1 kg – 287 litres
Milk 250ml glass – 255 litres
Egg 1 – 196 litres
Crisps 1 bag – 184 litres
When this list is shown to school children (and probably a few adults too), they just can’t fathom out the link between a chocolate bar and 17 thousand litres of water. The sad fact is that even though we are becoming more and more conscious of our water footprint, we still tend to take it for granted!
Luckily though there are many industrial giants that are going that one step further and taking huge measures to cut down their water usage and we will highlight one of our favourites:
The following promise has been laid down by the 160 year old company: “At Levi Strauss & Company, our goal is to become the world’s most sustainable apparel company by transforming the way we do business.”
To counteract the huge water consumption required to produce the cotton for 99% of Levis’ apparel, they didn’t just go about searching for sustainable cotton suppliers, they co-founded an initiative to establish them. The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) encourages cotton farmers to use water efficiently and as a result, the BCI farmers use up to 18 percent less water than non-BCI. Levi’s are aiming for 100% sustainable cotton supply usage by 2020, and are avidly urging other large clothing manufacturers to follow suit.
By introducing part recycled cotton jeans and a revolutionary Water<Less™ finishing process, the estimates are that they have made a saving of up to 1 billion litres of water since 2011.
If 6 year old schoolchildren and leading trendsetters can learn how to manage water, then let’s hope that the rest of the world can too. Or maybe as Adam Smith declared, if water was priced per its value maybe we would take care of it more.