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Your Water Footprint, boomer warriorMost of us are not aware of the enormous amounts of hidden water we consume every day. In his new book, Your Water Footprint, Stephen Leahy reveals the “shocking facts about how much water we use to make everyday products.” The launch of Your Water Footprint is September 9. I’m pleased to feature this short preview complete with two of the 125 unique graphics found in the book. (Editor ~ Rolly Montpellier)

Your Water Footprint

Your Water Footprint, Below2CDo you know you’re wearing water? It takes more than 7,600 liters (2,000 gallons) of water to make a single pair of jeans and another 2,460 liters (650 gallons) to make a T-shirt. And you’re eating water too. That morning cup of coffee required 140 liters (37 gallons) of water before it found its way to your table—water that was used to grow, process and ship the coffee beans. If you include toast, two eggs and some milk in your coffee, the water footprint of your breakfast totals about 700 liters (185 gallons).

Furniture, houses, cars, roads, buildings— practically everything we make uses water in the manufacturing process. When we spend money on food, clothes, cellphones or even electricity, we are buying water. A lot of water. Generating electricity from coal, oil, gas, and nuclear or hydro power involves the world’s second biggest use of water after food production. Making paper is another very water-intensive process. This book required about 980 liters (260 gallons) of water to produce, or more than your morning breakfast.

Stephen Leahy is an independent journalist who covers international environmental issues in the public interest.

His work has been published in publications around the world including National Geographic, The Guardian (UK), Vice Magazine, Inter Press Service News Agency (IPS), Al Jazeera, Earth Island Journal, The Toronto Star, Common Dreams, and DeSmog Canada.

Co-winner of the 2012 Prince Albert/United Nations Global Prize for reporting on Climate Change.

News media have cut their coverage of environmental issues so he launched Community Supported Environmental Journalism

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  1. Water is the deal. Thanks for posting this very good article Rolly, this subject is a big as climate change itself, and climate change is going to make it even bigger.

    • Danny – I will be posting a few more articles on water in the coming weeks. Water is going to become the controversial resource on the rest of the 21st century. Someone said once that the last war will be fought over water.

      Very insightful comment. Thanks

  2. I know that water is already a concern in many areas, with aquifers being mined at a much faster rate than they can be replenished but I had no idea of the actual number of litres/gallons that are needed to produce our food and clothing. Truly shocking!

    • Stephen Leahy’s book will likely turn many heads. Most of us are truly unaware of the water used in the manufacturing process for the products we consume everyday. I can’t wait to get my copy when it comes out in September.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. In the first world nations, we take drinking water for granted. People expect to turn on a tap and always have this precious commodity, giving little thought as to where it comes from, how many resources are required to clean it up (after all our manufacturing processes), or indeed if it will always be there?

    If we had to carry potable water to our homes (as people do in many third world countries), we might have a little more idea of how finite this resource actually is for most of the world.

    And, water born disease is starting to see increase world-wide due to contaminated water brought about by storms and weather situations brought on by global warming.

    I find it truly scary that seawater is infiltrating many of the underground aquifers in the world. However, the currently useable technology to use reverse osmosis to make seawater drinkable, could be an answer. That is, if we don’t totally poison the sea first!

    Great article Rolly!

    • Stephen Leahy’s book will reveal many surprising facts about our use of water. I’m looking forward to its release in September.

      And you’re so right that we take water for granted. It comes out of the tap every time, always, and we don’t as a rule question its source, how it gets to us, the health of the water source or how long it will last. We assume it will last forever. All this is about to change.


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