The Water Footprint – From Concept to Results

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The water footprint term is not exactly new but rather something pushed forward more and more in the battle to protect the environment.

Saving water doesn’t only refer to the water we drink or the one we use for personal hygiene. Along the public system that provides us the water we need, there are other factors with a huge consumption rate of which we are slightly unaware.

water footprintThe biggest consumers are the industry, the agriculture and the tourism. Also the largest proportion of the water consumed in the world goes to producing energy.

In UE the water distribution for country consumption is: 44% for energy, 24% for agriculture, 17% for public consumption and only 15% for industry.

The water footprint of a country shows the total water volume used for producing goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of that country.

Since not all the consumed goods are produced on the country’s territory the calculation includes the quantity of resources and the water consumption outside its frontiers.

We are not surprised that in Europe, the southern countries with a hotter climate have a larger water footprint than the ones from the northern area with a cooler temperature because the figure includes agriculture with the necessary irrigation, and the industry.

Greece is leading the chart with an annual water consumption of 2389 cubic meters for each inhabitant. Latvia is on the opposite side with only 684 cubic meters/ inhabitant while Sweden has the largest public consumption rate without agriculture and industry – 121 cubic meters for each inhabitant.

The China water footprint is around 700 cubic meters/inhabitant but only 7% of it is of a foreign origin. Japan, on the other hand, has 1150 cubic meters/inhabitant but more than 65% of it is placed abroad.

On a low scale, the above figures are strictly the result of the human behavior in report to every habit the inhabitants of a country apply in their everyday life.

This is why we should focus on picking products that bear the green label, products certified as having the smallest impact on the environment. A diet based on products which do not require water and energy consumption for preparation is the right way to go.

Use tap water instead of the bottled one. In the parts of the world where the water is drinkable, use a water filter and you will have safe water to consume. Bottled water is one of the top energy consumers because of its producing, transport and plastic bottles recycling, all of them adding to the public water footprint.

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