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‘Food is the elephant in the room for human water use’

From treatment plants to hot showers, emissions from water use in the U.S. are equal to 50 million cars driving around for a year. In The Washington Post, staff writer Tik Root consults different experts to learn about ways to reduce our water consumption. He also speaks with Leiden environmental scientist Ranran Wang who studies water use efficiency.

We contribute through the food we buy

After a whole bunch of tips on how to start conserving water in and around our homes, it's Wang's turn to speak. She emphasises that those efforts should also extend further afield. ‘Food is the elephant in the room for human water use’, she says, ‘and is also embodied in the stuff we buy.’ For example, it takes 2550 litres of water to produce a regular-sized steak, compared with 80 litres for a salad.

Outdated water infrastructure is another barrier

Furthermore, Wang feels outdated water infrastructures are another barrier to reduction efforts. In Berlin, for instance, residents reduced their water consumption so much that the sewage wasn’t moving quickly enough through the system, which was built decades earlier for higher flows. The utility company sometimes had to run fresh drinking water through the pipes just to make things work properly.

Solving the problem requires not only our individual behaviour, but the entire system to evolve, Root concludes.

Read the entire article here:
Washington Post – How to start tackling your home’s water – and climate - footprint

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