“What If You Knew” | How Many Gallons of Water it Takes to Make . . .

The point of this article is not to scare you into using less water but to help you understand that all the water we will ever have on this planet is consumed in so many ways without regard to the quality of water left over. Understand that the quality of water that reaches our homes today is so degraded from the water we drank as kids and it’s getting worse every year.

But the article is fun to read nonetheless.

Some guy drinking a gallon of water

A worldwide water crisis is a-comin’. Don’t believe me? Violence over water rights is already breaking out in regions of the world where water is scarce. Along with political tensions and maybe wars we’re going to see food production affected, and more people flat out hungry and thirsty. And it’s all because we’re simply using too much water. We use too much when we shower, when we do the dishes - but mostly, we use too much to produce all the stuff we buy. In fact, you’d be surprised how many gallons of water it takes to create the products that make our lives comfortable. Here’s a rundown of some of the most shocking . . .

How Many Gallons of Water is in a . . .

  • Car
    It takes an estimated 39,090 gallons of water to make a car. It’s unclear if that includes the more than 2,000 gallons used to make its tires — each tire takes 518 gallons to make.
  • Pair of Jeans
    It takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of regular ol’ blue jeans.
  • Cotton T-Shirt
    Not as bad as jeans, it still takes a whopping 400 gallons of water to grow the cotton required for an ordinary cotton shirt.
  • Single Board of Lumber
    5.4 gallons of water are used to grow enough wood for one lumber board. [3]
  • Barrel of Beer
    In order to process a single barrel of beer (32 gallons of booze), 1,500 gallons of water are sucked down.
  • To-Go Latte
    It takes 53 gallons to make every latte, and then there’s;
That sugar, doesn’t that have to be grown as cane first? Hm. And then there’s that plastic lid, which has to be created and distributed over hundreds of miles. And doesn’t plastic require a pretty vast amount of water and oil to produce? Come to think of it, there’s the sleeve and the cup itself too . . .
  • Gallon of Paint
    Takes 13 gallons of water to make.
  • Individual Bottled Water
    This irony shouldn’t be lost on anyone: it takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture the plastic for the bottle in the average commercial bottle of water.
  • One Ton of . . .
    Steel: 62,000 gallons of water
    Cement: 1,360 gallons
  • One Pound of . . .
    Wool: 101 gallons of water
    Cotton: 101 gallons
    Plastic: 24 gallons
    Synthetic Rubber: 55 gallons

And that’s just some of the stuff we make. The numbers are crazy when you look at how much water it takes to grow all of our food too. We all need to make a conscious effort to watch what we buy for its water footprint. And it’s not just the US, though many countries around the world have alarmingly high water footprints, too. So keep your eyes open when you’re shopping around. We’re wasting way too much water.

More on the Water Crisis
Five Ingenious Ways Humans Move Water
Top 5 Ways Water Gets Polluted

Water Resource of the United States (USGS) 
Water Conservation Facts 

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