Water footprint

I’ve heard of carbon footprint before, but today is the first time I’ve heard of water footprint.

According Dr. Fabian M. Dayrit, Chemistry professor and dean of the School of Science and Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines), in his essay Managing Water for a Sustainable Future water footprint is “the total volume of freshwater that is needed directly to produce certain goods or services, in terms of water consumption and pollution.”

I suppose then, that just as we must be mindful of our human activities that release carbon dioxide gases into the atmosphere, we must also be conscious of our day-to-day water footprint.

Dr. Dayrit illustrated water footprint thus: Imagine 1 kilogram of beef. That amount of meat actually has, according to him, a water footprint of 16,000 liters of water. Thus, eating beef will increase a beef-eater’s water footprint, whereas a vegetarian diet will have a smaller water footprint.

I suppose then, too, that aside from Buddhism’s peace-with-animate-beings lesson, another case for turning vegetarian would be to lessen one’s water footprint.

Dr. Dayrit’s article, by the way, can also be found at the book Agenda for Hope.


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