With the pervasive drought throughout the southwest and water shortages worldwide, water conservation efforts have become a top priority across the globe. It is true that water conservation starts at the individual level, however the global water crisis extends much further than at home. Many industrial processes use a staggering amount of water in order to produce their goods and services. Water usage extends beyond the industrial plant as well; the raw goods utilized must also be taken in account for a true water footprint measurement. Take Coca-Cola for example, the raw materials they utilize to produce their coke products consume at least 112 trillion gallons of water per year – this is just beyond imagination!
Freshwater is one of our greatest natural resources and there is enough freshwater on our planet to sustain seven billion people. The sad part is that an inordinate amount of water is either wasted, unsustainably managed, polluted or unequally distributed so that water scarcity is a global concern. We must take a look at how we are consuming our freshwater and make some serious changes in order to protect, preserve and utilize it in the most sustainable way possible.
A study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University broke down water usage by industry sector. They took into consideration both indirect water use, such as when a manufacturing facility is purchasing items that were manufactured outside their company and direct usage, such as water usage inside a manufacturing facility. The agriculture and power industries are responsible for about 90 percent of direct water usage however, the majority of water usage is indirect. Approximately 96 percent of industry sectors use more indirect water than direct water in their supply chains. The top six industry water consumers are as follows:
1. Fruit and Vegetable Farming – corn, rice, wheat, cotton and sugarcane are the top water consuming crops. It takes 88 gallons of water to produce a 5 pound bag of refined white sugar.
2. Power Generation – It takes 201,000 million gallons of water to produce one day’s worth of electricity.
3. Textiles and Garments – That one pair of jeans you wear takes 2,900 gallons of water to produce.
4. Meat Production – The production of animal products accounts for 29 percent of the total water footprint of the agricultural sector in the world.
5. Beverage Industry – It takes between 180 and 328 gallons of water to produce a 2-liter bottle of soda and that pint of beer you have after work took 20 gallons of water to produce.
6. Automotive Manufacturing – In order to produce the average domestic car, including the tires, the automotive company consumed 39,000 gallons of water.
Water conservation is imperative across the globe and we each need to do our part to make sure we are utilizing our water resources responsibly. Water conservation is one of the reasons why we developed the high efficiency LINX Drinking Water System. Not only does it produce exceptional drinking water, but it practically eliminates water waste. The leading drinking water systems are typically reverse osmosis systems which waste an insane amount of water; at least 86 percent of their feed water is flushed down the drain. Water conservation starts at home, so let’s all do our part to take steps to preserve our water resources and make water conscious decisions in every part of our lives. One step at a time and we can do our part to help solve the water crisis our generation is facing.