Trend Magazine

What Is a Water Footprint?

Crunch

Pew.Feature.Toolbar.InThisIssue:

  • Spring 2019
  • The Future of Water
  • Stewarding the Earth’s Water
  • Crunch: What Is a Water Footprint?
  • The Rediscovery of Water
  • A Map of the Future of Water
  • The Water Cycle is Broken But We Can Fix It
  • Groundwater: Unseen But Increasingly Needed
  • America's Water Infrastructure
  • Sometimes Water Should Be Left Where It Is
  • Five Questions: Bringing Water to Those in Need
  • Voices: When You Can't Take Water for Granted
  • Pew.Feature.Toolbar.ViewAllOtherIssues
What Is a Water Footprint?

It takes just over 2,000 gallons of water a day to keep the average American’s lifestyle afloat. That’s because everything we use, wear, eat, or buy takes water to make. A product’s water footprint consists of the volume of water from soils, rivers, and groundwater consumed in making it, plus the water needed to absorb the pollutants from manufacturing. So the water footprint of a cotton T-shirt consists of the water from rainfall and irrigation consumed in growing the cotton plant, plus the water needed at the shirt-making factory, plus the water needed to dilute the factory’s pollution. Applying a consistent methodology, the Water Footprint Network—a collaboration of companies, organizations, and individuals aimed at promoting smarter use of water—has developed water footprint estimates for many common products.

The Rediscovery of Water Stewarding the Earth’s Water