Trend Magazine

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
The front facade of the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, DC.

Agenda for America

Resources for federal, state, and local decision-makers

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for emerging challenges, it makes government more effective and better able to serve the public interest.


States of Innovation

Data-driven state policy innovations across America

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Data-driven policymaking is not just a tool for finding new solutions for difficult challenges. When states serve their traditional role as laboratories of innovation, they increase the American people’s confidence that the government they choose—no matter the size—can be effective, responsive, and in the public interest.