How much water do you eat?

An 8 minute long shower with a flow rate of 11 liters per minute uses 88 liters of water [1]. Given you only drink a couple of liters of water a day [2], that sounds like a lot! But compared to the water used to produce the food you eat and the products you use, it’s pretty insignificant [3,4].

The amount of water used to produce your food depends on what you eat: for a meat-eater its about 4300 liters per day [7]. For a vegetarian it’s much less: around 2700 liters, because meat production requires a lot of water [7]. So, to reduce the amount of water you use, it’s much more effective to cut out meat than to have a shorter shower!

But what about the “water-guzzling“ vegan foods [8]? It’s true that almonds require a lot of water to grow: an 80g serving (about 54 almonds [6]) takes about 1288 liters to produce [4]. This is causing farmers in California to take ancient water out of the ground that will take many years to fill up again naturally [9,10].

How about avocados? For an 80g avocado [5] about 158 liters of water are needed on average [4]. That is a fair bit, but it’s a lot less than red meat: 80g of beef uses 1232 liters of water [3]!

We’re focussing on water here, but remember that food has many different types of impact on the environment [11]. Beef is worse than almonds overall because it uses a lot of land and has a high carbon footprint [11].

We’ll look into water use of products in more detail in the next post!

References

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