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Liquid Assets: The Big Business of Water

There's How Much Water In My Hamburger?

Tracking Your Water Footprint

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as paper, cotton clothes and food — you'd be amazed how much water it takes to make a single hamburger. Or the beer you might drink with it.The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the go

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as paper, cotton clothes and food — you'd be amazed how much water it takes to make a single hamburger. Or the beer you might drink with it.

The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

Click ahead to see how much water it takes to make average products — products you consume every day.

By Constance Parten
Posted 28 Sept 2010

Source: Waterfootprint.org

Orange

Water Cost: 13.2 gallonsOne glass of orange juice requires nearly 45 gallons of water to produce—the same mount of water it takes to refine one gallon of crude oil.
Photo: Francesco Ruggeri | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Water Cost: 13.2 gallons
One glass of orange juice requires nearly 45 gallons of water to produce—the same mount of water it takes to refine one gallon of crude oil.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, UNCTAD

Cup of Coffee

Water cost: 36.98 gallons, or enough to overflow an average bath tub.It costs about 2,522 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of roasted coffee.
Photo: Yuri Arcurs | Getty Images

Water cost: 36.98 gallons, or enough to overflow an average bath tub.

It costs about 2,522 gallons of water to produce just 1 pound of roasted coffee.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, Coffee Research Institute, Food info net

A Hamburger

Water cost: 634 gallons just to produce the beef. By comparison, an average hot tub holds between 450 and 500 gallons of water.,
Photo: Ian O'Leary | Stone | Getty Images

Water cost: 634 gallons just to produce the beef. By comparison, an average hot tub holds between 450 and 500 gallons of water.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, CNBC.com

Cheese Plate

Water cost: Approximately 600 gallons for one pound of cheese. This figure does not include the amount of water required to produce the milk used in the cheese — nearly 900 gallons.
Photo: Image Source | Getty Images

Water cost: Approximately 600 gallons for one pound of cheese. This figure does not include the amount of water required to produce the milk used in the cheese — nearly 900 gallons.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, Food-Info.net

An Apple

Water cost: 18.50 gallons
Photo: Tim Graham | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Water cost: 18.50 gallons

It takes nearly as much water to produce one apple as it does gas to fill up a full-size car’s gas tank. It takes even more water to create one glass of apple juice — an estimated 50.19 gallons.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, UK Institute of Food Research, US Apple Asocciation, CNBC.com

Glass of Beer

Water Cost: 19.81 gallonsMost of the water required to produce beer is used in growing the barley. US beer manufacturer MillerCoors used within the beer pasteurization process in order to reduce the water used
Photo: Jack Anderson | FoodPix | Getty Images

Water Cost: 19.81 gallons
Most of the water required to produce beer is used in growing the barley. US beer manufacturer MillerCoors is looking at recycling water used within the beer pasteurization process in order to reduce the water used

Source: WaterFootprint.org

Glass of Wine

Water Cost: 31.70 gallonsMost of the water required to produce wine is used in growing the grapes.
Photo: iStock

Water Cost: 31.70 gallons
Most of the water required to produce wine is used in growing the grapes.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, Food info net

One Egg

Water Cost: Roughly 53 gallons On average, eggs require roughly 872 gallons of water per ton to produce. Most of the water is required for feeding the chickens.Source:
Photo: Getty Images

Water Cost: Roughly 53 gallons
On average, eggs require roughly 872 gallons of water per ton to produce. Most of the water is required for feeding the chickens.

Source: WaterFootprint.org

Glass of Milk

Water Cost: 62.5 gallonsIt takes an average 1,000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk.
Photo: MIB | UpperCut Images | Getty Images

Water Cost: 62.5 gallons
It takes an average 1,000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk.

Source: WaterFootprint.org

Potatoes

Water Cost: 119 gallons per pound A pound of prepared instant potatoes requires roughly 108 more gallons of water to produce than a pound of fresh potatoes. And a bag of potato chips requires roughly 49 additional gallons.
Photo: Michael Melford | The Image Bank | Getty Images

Water Cost: 119 gallons per pound
A pound of prepared instant potatoes requires roughly 108 more gallons of water to produce than a pound of fresh potatoes. And a bag of potato chips requires roughly 49 additional gallons.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, International Potato Center

A Cup of Tea

Water Cost: 7.93 gallonsNearly 8 trillion gallons of water per year are required to supply tea to the world’s tea drinkers — that’s nearly enough water to fill the New Orleans Superdome nine times.
Photo: Steve Lupton | FoodPix | Getty Images

Water Cost: 7.93 gallons
Nearly 8 trillion gallons of water per year are required to supply tea to the world’s tea drinkers — that’s nearly enough water to fill the New Orleans Superdome nine times.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, Food info net

One Pound of Sugar

Water Cost: 180.12 gallonsGlobal sugar cane crops require roughly 5.8 billion gallons of water annually, which is 3.4 percent of the global water use for crop production.
Photo: Michael Rosenfeld | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Water Cost: 180.12 gallons
Global sugar cane crops require roughly 5.8 billion gallons of water annually, which is 3.4 percent of the global water use for crop production.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, Food info net, Sugar Knowledge International, UNCTAD

One Pound of Pork Chops

Water Cost: 576 gallons of waterIn an industrial pig farming system, it takes 10 months to raise a pig for slaughter. The water used during that time for feeding and cleaning, and then slaughtering and processing a pig requires more than 2,900 gallons of water — enough to fill the Washington Monument to the top. Twice.
Photo: Mark Thomas | StockFood Creative | Getty Images

Water Cost: 576 gallons of water
In an industrial pig farming system, it takes 10 months to raise a pig for slaughter. The water used during that time for feeding and cleaning, and then slaughtering and processing a pig requires more than 2,900 gallons of water — enough to fill the Washington Monument to the top. Twice.

Source: WaterFootprint.org

A Pound of Corn

Water Cost: 108 gallonsGlobal corn production requires about 145 billion gallons of water annually, which is 8 percent of the global water used for crop production.
Photo: Frederic Didillion | Taxi | Getty Images

Water Cost: 108 gallons
Global corn production requires about 145 billion gallons of water annually, which is 8 percent of the global water used for crop production.

Source: WaterFootprint.org, UNCTAD

Slice of Wheat Bread

Water Cost: 10.57 gallonsOn a global average, wheat production requires 156.10 gallons of water per pound.
Photo: Smari | Stone | Getty Images

Water Cost: 10.57 gallons
On a global average, wheat production requires 156.10 gallons of water per pound.

Source: WaterFootprint.org

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