Change the World Wednesday, Water Footprint

This week Reduce Footprints has challenged us to take a closer look at our water footprint.  I knew about the carbon footprint, but hadn’t seen the water footprint tables.  I was in for a shock.

Before I share the challenge and what I found from the quiz I wanted to share a  picture with you.  I have legs on my loveseat.  As soon as the cushions arrive I will have a new piece of furniture that suits me!!!

Now I need to vacuum and clean up!

Now I need to vacuum and clean up!

Here’s the challenge before me:

This week, consider your water footprint, particularly your indirect water use.  Begin using my calculator at the bottom of this page Here   (I found the extended calculator to be the best).  If you need to convert measurements of food here’s a TOOL.  Once you’ve calculated your water footprint, take a look at your results and see if there is an area that can be reduced.  For example, if your primary water use is associated with cereals/grains, opt for varieties which require less water to produce (barley uses less water than rice).  Reduce the amount of sugar you use (it takes 1,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilo of white sugar). Opt for fruits and veggies rather than meat (a kilo of beef requires 15, 500 to create) or opt for pork or chicken (4,800 and 3,900 liters respectively).  Drink tea instead of coffee saving 110 liters of water per cup.  Drive less (gasoline takes a lot of water).  Buy less stuff (everything takes water to produce and transport). While reducing our water consumption is absolutely encouraged, this challenge is about looking at the indirect water we use.

This challenge originated with Argentum Vulgaris at Eco Crap.

I took the challenge and found my water footprint is 485.  It is only this low because I don’t eat meat, and don’t drive.  Questions I found I was particularly happy with were ones which asked how long a shower I take (I use the Navy Shower method, but I do waste water waiting for it to heat up so did add that water into my shower time).  I also don’t wash a car or sidewalks.  I don’t water grass but I do have a higher water usage for watering the garden, based on the amount I used last year during drought conditions.

While I will be trying to cut my water consumption by doing little things such as eating barley more than rice, I really do like the taste of barley better it’s just not as easy to find locally without lots of packaging.

My garden is where my water footprint took the biggest hit, but while I do my best to use as little as possible, I still prefer to use the water to grow as much of my food than the alternative of having my food trucked in, which will use as much water to grow if not more than I do,   and all the waste that comes from that.

Did you take the quiz, it only takes a few minutes, how did you do?  Where is your biggest water consumption?

8 thoughts on “Change the World Wednesday, Water Footprint

  1. your sofa looks great! I grew up using well water, so we were very careful about water usage. Never watered the lawn or washed cars or the pump would run and run and we would run out of water. I have a well now also and we are super careful about water usage. Our washing machine and toilets are all low usage. We are planning a garden this year, though no lawn (lawns are so BAD for the environment and take about water wasters!), just going to plant clover. So we will be (hopefully) installing a water recovery system that uses old whiskey barrels to hold the water to use later.

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    • I didn’t grow up on well water, but many relatives did who I visited often. As an adult I have lived with well water and knew we had to be very careful in our usage. I have never watered a lawn, that’s just crazy to me. Here we don’t exactly have a lawn, the field years ago was farmed and then let to go wild. So while the lawns may be all brown the field stays green. My hope is to have enough people put in gardens to reduce the amount of moving we have to do back there while keeping some open space for children and pets to enjoy.

      Good luck installing your water recovery system, I’d love to hear more about the process you have to go through, I’ll be watching your posts for your story.

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  2. We went through years of drought in Victoria and had to have all sorts of water saving measures:
    No watering of lawns or driveways. Windows and cars could not be washed with a hose only a bucket. Gardens could only be watered twice a week between certain hours with a hose, no sprinklers or fountains allowed. The use of water tanks was encouraged as was connecting the washing machine to use the grey water on the garden. I caught the water in a bucket in the shower whilst waiting for it to heat up and we were all given timers to limit our showers to three minutes. Watersaving shower heads were encouraged too. I bucketed water out of the bath until I hurt my back doing it.

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    • We haven’t had to go as far as you have Jen. I grew up knowing which days we could use water on the garden, if at all, and had weeks of not being allowed to wash cars. I think we will be returning to that again real quick, but maybe not this summer as it’s a really wet spring. I don’t want to imagine how hard it will be to use my shower water (hauling it myself) in order to water my garden, but if it comes to that at any time I will. I hope you don’t have to do it again this year.

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  3. You shouldn’t feel too bad about using a large amount of water for your garden. The thing is it works in a cycle so you’re also nourishing the ground to then provide more crops. I could think of far worse uses :)

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    • That’s close to the way I was thinking. I can make a few changes and cut back in some areas, but in producing food I feel it’s a good use of my water. We are trying to get the owner of the property to allow us to put in rain barrels, if that happens it will very drastically reduce the water I need to use, and being an apartment building we have 3 downspouts in both the front and back of the building, I know we won’t be allowed to use the ones out front, but even the three in the back would make a huge difference.

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