Ever since I learned about conserving water in the third grade, I have made a conscious effort to do my part in preserving our planet by doing little things like turning off the tap while brushing my teeth, but I never thought about how much water went into producing the toothbrush that I was using, or how much water went into creating my favourite sweater. I was shocked to find out how much water was used in the production of some of the things I use and consume everyday and I think you will be too.
According to the Orange County Water District, on average it takes 20 gallons of water to produce a glass of beer, 36 gallons of water per egg, 37 gallons of water per cup of coffee, 101 gallons of water to make one pound of wool or cotton, and 616 gallons of water per 4 oz. hamburger. Now for the big one… It takes 900 gallons of water to make ONE pair of blue jeans. Pair that with a cotton shirt that used 1,083 gallons of water to be produced and your outfit is suddenly worth more then the money it took out of your pocket.
All of these numbers include the virtual water being used to produce the product. Virtual water is a concept that refers to the water needed to make a product, from start to finish, including water to grow cotton, for example, when making a t-shirt.
About how much water do we use in a day?
Let’s just focus on your average morning routine. You wake up and brush your teeth (2-5 gallons) then hop in the shower, (9-12 gallons). You go to the washroom, (4-7 gallons), then head to your kitchen to cook some breakfast, (5-10 gallons). Once you’re finished you put your dishes in your dishwasher (13-19 gallons) and throw some laundry in your washing machine before you go off to work (35-50 gallons). In about 2 hours, you could have used up to 103 gallons of water! And that’s just for one person. Multiply that by the amount of people in your house – let’s say 4 – and then multiply that by the amount of houses on your street – lets say 20 – and your crescent has used up to 8,240 gallons of water in just a couple hours.
All the while, more than 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water.
That’s why it is so important to make a conscious effort to help conserve water any way you can. Whether that means investing in an energy efficient/water conscious toilet, or letting the rain clean your car instead of using up another 50 gallons of water.
You can make a difference. Help us spread the word and support the preservation of our planet.