Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Going Beyond

Orange Waterfall
With the exception of air, water is our most precious resource. We will die if we go without water for more than about 3 days. And the surprising fact is that most of the water on the planet is not potable. Many of us who understand this scarcity find ways to cut down on water waste. We take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing our teeth, refrain from washing our cars needlessly, and so on. As good as these actions are, there are many hidden, indirect ways that we contribute to the water waste. For example, manufactured goods use tremendous amounts of water. That soda you're drinking? That new shirt you bought? Lots of water went into making those products. Agricultural products also use large quantities of water. That steak you're enjoying? The avocado in your guacamole? The almond milk on your cereal? Again, there are many food items that use more water than others. And go beyond. Make the connection between anything that was manufactured, shipped a long distance, or requires large quantities of water to raise or grow. Then seek out alternatives. Stop shopping except for necessities and then try to buy used whenever possible. Eat meatless meals that include drought tolerant fruits and vegetables. While taking shorter showers is an important way to save water, changing your purchasing and eating habits is even better.

If you want more details, this article has data about water usage and includes tips on cutting down on indirect water usage. And you can go to Water Footprint to use the water footprint calculator and download the Water Footprint Assessment Manual. While you're there, check out other links and resources.


Shona~ LALA dex press said...


Great article link. A crazy thing happened this past year, I stopped liking coffee. I spent years waking up and the word "coffee" being the first word out of my mouth and then one day it did not taste good to me. I've had a cup here and there and it just does not taste very good anymore. I chalk it up to changing tastes with age, but according to the article, it's a good thing.

Happy New Year

David said...

Cherie, you are so correct. The focus is so much on the food production that water can be lost in the shuffle. I have relatives that live in Las Vegas the home of the Hoover dam. For as long as I can remember the states of Nevada, Arizona, and California have been locked in battle over who has the rights to the water in the Colorado river. Three states, one being Colorado, have made it illegal to catch rain water on your own property because it prevents the water to run off into the river and be used some where down river. Now I have to say that no one has ever been prosecuted under this law in Colorado but it is on the books and could be enforced at any time. My contention has been for many years that water will become a cherished commodity in the future. My water conservation comes from garden watering methods. The less water that is sprayed into the air the better it is. However, my urban neighbors use thousands of gallons of water keeping their grass looking perfect. I some times wonder what they think about my yard when all I do is water enough to keep it alive which isn't very much.

Have a great water conservation day.

Cherie said...

Shona, I had the same reaction about avocados,too. :) It's all about balance, though.

Cherie said...

David, I did know that about the west (I'm from Los Angeles originally) and, to people on the east coast, it sounds crazy that you can't harvest rainwater. And I agree that water will be the big battle as we continue to poison and privatize what little potable water there is.

EcoGrrl said...

I love the calculator for water (except for it being in the metric system, argh!) - definitely a homework assignment for me. When it comes to food, the more we grow of our own, the more we control how much water we use.

Funny ,we get so much water in Oregon in the winters (summers are actually very dry unlike the stereotypes) that we let our 300 gal rain cistern empty out otherwise it can't take the overflow. We can't wait to get a second one! :)

Cherie said...

EcoGrrl, I found that estimating my food consumption on the water calculator was hard. I know that the fact that we don't water much (unless we have a drought), most of our food is local, and I don't eat meat (and my husband only eats meat he raised, fished, or hunted), my water footprint must be much lower than the average American.