Water footprint next environmental measure

The importance of water as a scarce resource is being reflected in the next environmental measure – water footprints:

Water footprints seem to be taking over from carbon footprints at the Water New Zealand Conference in Rotorua today.

While the production of a cup of coffee consumes a startling 140 litres of water, a pair of leather shoes consumes 8,000, the production of a single litre of bio-ethanol can consume between 1,200 and 3,000 litres of water, Professor Torkil Jonch Clausen, Chair Programme Committee, World Water Week in Stockholm and Adviser to Sweden’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment told the Water New Zealand conference in Rotorua this morning.

Water footprints

Product Water consumed (litres)
1 cup of coffee 140
1 glass of milk 200
1 litre bio-ethanol 1200 – 3000
1 cotton tee shirt 2000
1 hamburger 2400
1 pair leather shoes 8000

His message to the conference was that water is an increasingly scarce world resource and those countries who are blessed with abundant supplies of water, like New Zealand, are very fortunate.

This might be good for New Zealand but no doubt the measure will be clouded by emotion rather than based on science, as carbon footprints are.

Conserving any resource is sensible but a water footprint is a blunt instrument. Using 140 litres for a cup of coffee in a desert could be more wasteful than using 8000 litres for leather shoes in a region where water is plentiful.

One Response to Water footprint next environmental measure

  1. Andrei says:

    A 140 litre cup of coffee is one hell of a cup of coffee, about 280 times the size of my usual brew –

    I know, I know they are “calculating” all the water that is used in growing, transporting etc but even then it is gooble because most of this water is returned to the environment before the coffee is brewed – eg the coffee bush returns the water it has sucked up through a process called transpiration.

    Why do we pay people to produce BS, is it because these people are incapable of earning an honest living?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: