Water Footprint and Virtual Water Trade

drinking water

With the recent advent of climate change into mainstream media, most individuals are aware of a concept called a Carbon Footprint. If not, I will let you know briefly, a Carbon Footprint is a measure of how much C02 a person produces by lifestyle choices.
A membrane
However, less popular, but no less important, is the concept of a Water Footprint. This concept calculates a measure of how much H20 a person utilizes by lifestyle choices, or average annual water consumption.

UNESCO-IHE and University of Twente in the Netherlands have been actively researching the concept of a water footprint, as well as the concept of virtual water trade. On their website, they have developed a tool that will calculate individual and country specific water consumption.

Calculate your total water consumption here.

       Photo courtesy, eisenrah on flickr.

Given my interest in water conservation, I decided to calculate my annual water-usage. Using the water footprint calculator, it was difficult to know if my entries of weekly foods in Kilograms were exact. However, after a little thought, I was able to accurately gage my edibles by the pound for conversion into Kg. My entries concerning home usage were much easier including showers, dishes, and yard-watering.

So, the grand total of my water usage, according to the Water Footprint Calculator is:

  • 707 cubic meters per year
  • .573 acre feet per year
  • 186,770 gallons per year

It is true that Americans, in general, have high water consumption. My annual water totals are indicative of this fact. It would be sobering to compare per capita water consumption in countries throughout the world. Although one thing is certain, I aim to decrease my annual totals, and it starts with my daily choices…