We eat several thousand liters of water per day
An average Western European consumes approximately 130 liters per day: for bathing, cooking, drinking, and for a host of other daily needs. But indirect water use is so much higher than what is simply consumed. According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 liters of water are required in order to produce our daily food. Our selection of foods decides on our water consumption.
Lots of showers with the water required for just one kilogram of beef
Our graph of the month shows the water used for the production of various foodstuffs, for one kilogram each. This is also called the water footprint of foodstuffs. These values clearly indicate that animal products such as beef and pork require considerably more water than vegetable products such as rice or potatoes. The only products requiring even more water are coffee, chocolate and tea.
Water-saving agriculture – a challenge for the future
All over the world, water is becoming a scarce resource. Agriculture places great demands on this resource. The development of water-conserving cultivation methods is one of the greatest challenges for our future, as a growing world population will need to be fed. Sophisticated irrigation systems such as drip irrigation are a first step toward water conserving food production. Another decisive factor is locally adapted fertilization, specifically with potassium and magnesium. Potassium and magnesium protect plants against desiccation. There are also indicators that an appropriate supply of potassium increases the soil’s water retention capacity.