We all know that water covers 71% of the Earth’s surface – but only about 3% of that is freshwater.
Lets talk about how we use water every day –both consciously and unconsciously!
According to the UN World Water Development Report the world uses about 70% of freshwater for irrigation, 20% for industrial purposes, and about 10% for domestic use.
Domestic use is how we think of water every day. We take showers, flush the toilet, brush our teeth, wash our hands, drink water, make sure our pets have water, maybe water a houseplant or two. Even with 7.3 billion people worldwide, that only accounts for 10% of water usage a year.
~53 gallons of water for one glass of milk
~40 gallons of water for one cup of coffee
~32 gallons for one glass of wine (Sorry to you Save Water, Drink Wine crowd)
~20 gallons for one glass of beer
The industrial use of water affects our everyday lives – but it’s not something we see very often, so it’s easy to forget. The clothes we wear, gas in our cars, paper we write on, and metals and wood our houses are built with all use water in their production. Almost every manufactured product does! 20% of the worlds freshwater resources are used for industrial purposes.
According to the US Geological Survey, in 2005 Louisiana used more water than any other state – 17% of all US water withdrawals went to Louisiana’s chemical and paper industries.
70% of water usage worldwide is for irrigation for crop production and other agricultural functions. It takes up to 90% of water withdrawn in some developing countries, but in the United States it’s only 30% of the total water usage.
Although only 20% of cropland is irrigated, irrigated land produces about 40% of the world’s food. Irrigation multiplies the yields of most crops by 2-5x. Every thing that we eat needs water to grow and every one of the 7.3 billion people in the world needs food to survive. Unfortunately, the International Water Management Institute assessed that with our current usage we won’t be able to meet the demands of the growing population by 2025 and 1.8 billion people will be living with water scarcity. That scarcity won’t just affect them; the United States imports most of the food we eat!
Water is an issue that bridges every gap – and it’s our responsibility to ensure that every person has access now, and in future generations. So, how much water do you use in a day?