What is the water content of things?
Water is needed to not only grow everything we eat but also to produce almost all the products we use every day. This water is supplied by nature as precipitation or added by people during the growing and production process. You can't tell by the size of a product or the appearance of a food how much water was actually used to produce the item.
Use the form below to enter your guess about how much water is used to produce some common foods and products. Please realize this exercise is meant to give you an estimate of how much water is needed to produce these items. It is very difficult to come up with accurate water-use numbers, and the large variety of food-growing and production techniques used worldwide means that the amount of water needed can vary a huge amount, depending on how and where the food is grown.
Yet another consideration is how far back to go in the chain of production to estimate water use. For beef, some estimates only consider drinking water for cattle, whereas other sources may consider the water needed to grow the food that the cow eats.
The data here were taken from two sources:
- The Water Footprint Network
- Water Content of Things: The World's Water 2008-2009, Peter Gleick, The Pacific Institute