Calculate your water footprint

I’ve just got back from my chunk o’ (very) dry dirt in the outback – this trip was the first time I’ve seen precipitation heavy enough to be called rain out there… all 10 minutes of it. The smell of eaucalyptus hanging in the air afterwards was wonderful; but within an hour it was like no rain had fallen at all – the ground is just so dry it sucks up moisture very quickly. The drought is certainly a long way from breaking in these parts and water is a very important topic to the people in the area.

My total water consumption this trip of 6 days was 60 liters – about 15 gallons. That’s cooking, drinking and showering – and without being totally feral :). I patted myself on the back as that was way less than my last trip (a lot cooler this time around) and a small fraction of what I use back in suburbia, but something I wasn’t thinking of was the water that went into the food, fuel and other bits I took with me on the trip.

Much of the water we consume is “virtual water“; something I’ve written about in the past. You might get a shock to discover just how much water we use when you take into account the food and products we consume.

If you’re curious as to your water consumption with these things taken into account, also known as a “water footprint”, try the H2O conserve calculator.  Just a word of warning – it relies US averages, so see the results as an estimate of your water consumption rather than as an accurate assessment.

The H20 Conserve calculator is targeted towards North Americans, if you’re in the UK, try the BBC’s Water Calculator. If you’re in Australia, NZ or any other country, use the Water Footprint Calculator. The latter gives you a result in cubic meters; so times that figure by 1,000 to get litres.


Simple water saving tips
Saving water in showers