UK’s ‘water footprint’ is drying up the world
by David Masters
August 20, 2008
A new report by the WWF reveals that the UK’s ‘water footprint’ is unsustainable, and threatens the world’s water reserves.
The UK is the sixth largest net importer of water in the world – only 38% of the UK’s water is from its own resources.
Other water is imported from other countries such as Spain and Morocco, many of which are already suffering from serious water shortages.
The WWF report is the first ever attempt to measure the UK’s total ‘water footprint’.
It found that the average UK household uses 150 litres of water for washing and drinking every day, and around 30 times this amount is consumed in ‘virtual water’ used to produce food, textiles and other products.
With virtual water taken into account, each UK citizen consumes over 4,500 litres of water every day while many people in developing countries survive on 1,000 litres of virtual water per day.
The only countries that import more water than the UK are Brazil, Mexico, Japan, China and Italy.
The report also found that meat-based diets have a much larger water footprint than vegetarian diets, with meat eaters consuming more than twice as much virtual water per day.
At these leveles, the UK’s water consumption is contributing to the death of some of the most important rivers in the world and threatens global water reserves.
Stuart Orr, WWF’s water expert, said the huge amounts of food and cotton grown in drier parts of the world are ‘particularly worrying’.
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