How Much Water Goes into Producing Food Items?

Water conservation is rarely discussed unless a debilitating drought strikes a place such as California, affecting farming, food supplies and disappearing aquifers. Even then, folks talk more about how much water is used to irrigate lawns, or how long a shower should take. The truth is, nearly 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is used for agriculture, and nearly every manufacturing process depends on water. So to put water use in perspective: It takes 52 gallons of water to produce one glass of pasteurized milk, 37 gallons to make one cup of coffee, and 1,300 gallons to produce a 12-ounce steak.

Our water footprint, as it’s now called, is dominated by our diets. It takes more than 1,000 gallons of water a day, per person, to produce the food and beverages in the average US diet, scientists say. Compare that to the 98 gallons used in every household, every day.

Water, water everywhere:

  • According to National Geographic: More than 53 gallons of water go into making 1 cup of orange juice. A single orange, on the other hand, requires 13 gallons. An apple a day requires 18 gallons.

  • Maybe to prove that fruit is better for us, in more ways that one: A pound of chocolate requires 3,170 gallons of water. A pound of refined sugar requires 198 gallons.

  • Enough to drive you to drink? A gallon of beer requires 68 gallons of water. Most of that is used to grow the barley. A gallon of wine requires 1,008 gallons, mostly to grow the grapes.

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More Info: Los Angeles Times

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