The UK has become the sixth largest net importer of water in the world. Average household water use for washing and drinking in the UK is about 150 litres a person daily, but we consume about 30 times as much in "virtual water"(see below) used in the production of imported food and textiles;
Taking virtual water into account, each of us soaks up 4,645 litres a day;
People in poorer countries typically subsist on 1,000 litres of virtual water a day;
· Different diets have different water footprints. A meat and dairy-based diet consumes about 5,000 litres of virtual water a day while a vegetarian diet uses about 2,000 litres.
What's particularly worrying is that huge amounts of the food and cotton we consume are grown in drier areas of the world where water resources are in short supply.
Virtual water Alternatively called embedded, is water that has been used in the production of food and fibres. Includes resources also for irrigation, processing and packaging of produce.
Water footprint Amount of virtual and visible water used by a country, businesses or individuals.
Green water That which derives directly from rainfall or from the soil. Generally replenished, but climate change will alter patterns of rainfall and there could be a decline in many parts of the world.
Blue water Withdrawn from ground-water or surface reserves. In many areas blue water is being used faster than nature replenishes it.
Read the rest of this interesting article , including what M and S are trying to do. See here.