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Our Global Water Footprint

Extract from The Water Footprint Network – www.waterfootprint.org

The water footprint of a nation refers to the total amount of water that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the nation. The total water footprint of a country includes two components: the part of the footprint that falls inside the country (internal water footprint) and the part of the footprint that presses on other countries in the world (external water footprint).

The following table compares the national water footprints of various countries:

Country Average water footprint
m3 / capita / year
Part of footprint falling outside
of the country
USA 2483 19%
Greece 2389 35%
Spain 2325 36%
France 1875 37%
Australia 1393 18%
Brazil 1381 8%
UK 1245 70%
GLOBAL AVERAGE 1243 -
Japan 1153 64%
India 980 2%
South Africa 931 22%
Bangladesh 896 3%
Haiti 848 1%
China 702 7%
Ethiopia 675 1%

To truly appreciate the amount of water we use, consider the following water footprints of everyday items:

16,600 litres/4385 gallons of water for 1kg of leather
15,500 litres/4095 gallons of water per kg of beef
5,000 litres/1320 gallons of water for 1kg of cheese
3,900 litres/1030 gallons of water for 1 kg of chicken meat
3,400 litres/898 gallons of water for 1kg of rice
2,700 litres/713 gallons for 1 cotton shirt
2,400 litres//634 gallons of water for1 hamburger
1500 litres/396 gallons of water for 1kg of cane sugar
1300 litres/343 gallons of water for 1kg of wheat
1000 litres/264 gallons of water for 1 litre of milk
900 litres/238 gallons of water for 1kg of potato flakes
200 litres/53 gallons of water for 1 egg
40 litres/11 gallons of water for 1 slice of wheat bread
140 litres/37 gallons of water for 1 cup of coffee
30 litres/8 gallons of water for I cup of tea
120 litres/32 gallons of water for 1 glass of wine
80 litres/21 gallons of water per US$ of industrial product
70 litres/18 gallons of water for 1 apple
75 litres/20 gallons of water for 1 glass of beer
50 litres/13 gallons of water for 1 orange
10 litres/3 gallons of water for 1 A4 sheet of paper
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