Occasionally, a hot shower holds me hostage. And then one of these water facts floats into my brain and I come back to consciousness.
- Water covers 70.9 percent of the earth’s surface.
- Only 2.5 percent of all Earth’s water is freshwater, which is what life needs to survive. Almost all of it is locked up in ice and in the ground.
- Freshwater holds over 10 percent of all life on the planet and 35 percent of all vertebrates.
- In one year, the average American residence uses over 100,000 gallons of water (indoors and outside).
- Americans use more water each day by flushing the toilet than they do by showering or any other activity.
- At 50 gallons per day, residential Europeans use about half the water that residential Americans do.
- Almost 800 million people don’t have access to clean water.
- In Africa, 90 percent of the work of gathering water is done by women. Women and girls spend up to six hours a day fetching water.
- Residents of sub-Saharan Africa use only 2-5 gallons of water per day.
- Every day, one person drinks 2-4 liters of water and eats 2000-5000 liters or virtual water embedded in food.
How Much Water Are You Eating?
- 1 hamburger = 634 gallons (although I’ve seen estimates into the thousands of gallons)
- 1 gallon of milk = 1000 gallons
- 1 slice of bread = 10 gallons
Scary Important Facts
- Water availability is expected to decrease in many regions.
- Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century.
- More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025.
- Agriculture accounts for approximately 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawals (up to 90 percent in some fast-growing economies).
- Industry accounts for 20 percent of global freshwater withdrawels.
- The dietary shift to meat and dairy (which requires more water) has been the greatest to impact on water consumption over the past 30 years and will likely continue well into the middle of the 21st century.
- Up to 90 percent of wastewater in developing countries flows untreated into rivers, lakes and highly productive coastal zones.
- The IPCC predicts with high confidence that water stress will increase in central and southern Europe, and that by the 2070s, the number of people affected will rise from 28 million to 44 million.
For More Facts and Ways to Save Water …
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