2.1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and about 4 billion people (nearly two-thirds of the world’s population) face acute water scarcity at least once a year. According to the United Nations, by 2030, 700 million people throughout the world could be evacuated due to severe water scarcity.
Industrial scale animal agriculture has a huge negative influence on our environment, with over 83 billion animals raised and slaughtered for the food business every year. It is not only a major contributor to climate change and deforestation, but it also consumes a significant amount of water. According to research, converting to a more plant-forward diet can reduce our water footprint by half, so we can all help to protect the world’s water by changing our diets to minimize or replace meat, dairy, and eggs with more water-friendly plant-based meals.
1. Agriculture (animal and plant) uses over 70% of the world’s water now, accounting for up to 92 percent of freshwater, with animal farming and crop production accounting for nearly a third of that.
2. The water footprint of animal feed accounts for the majority of the total volume of water used in animal agriculture (98 percent). We feed one-third of the world’s grain and 80% of the world’s soya to the livestock we raise for food.
3. Intensive animal farming can lead to major water pollution, such as eutrophication, which is an excessive amount of algae in the water caused by animal feces and residual feed run-off, which often results in the extinction of fish and other aquatic creatures.
4. Beef requires 725.6L of freshwater to create 100g of protein, but tofu requires eight times less (92.9L)
Fresh-water fish farming provides 5.96 percent of the fish consumed in Europe, but the massive amounts of fish waste and uneaten fish food that settle on the pond bed provide the ideal habitat for the generation of the greenhouse gas methane.
6. A meat-free diet can help us reduce our water consumption by half! According to studies, a healthy meat-free diet can cut our water footprint by up to 55%.
7. According to the United Nations Environment Assembly, plant-based burgers use 7599 percent less water, 9395 percent less land, and emit 8790 percent fewer pollutants than cattle burgers.
a “Veganism is the single most effective approach to lessen your influence on the world, including greenhouse gas emissions, global acidification, eutrophication, land use, and water consumption. It’s much bigger than reducing your flights or getting an electric car, according to Joseph Poore of the University of Oxford, who undertook the most thorough study of the environmental impact of agriculture.
HSI’s President, Kitty Block, says: “With billions of people trying to cope with severe water scarcity around the world, we should all be looking to reduce our water footprint. Reduce or replace meat and dairy with planet-friendly, plant-based goods as one of the most effective ways we can all preserve water. Animal agriculture uses a lot of water to cultivate animal feed, hydrate billions of animals, sanitize abattoir equipment, and process animal products, which adds to the world’s water crisis. In addition to the benefits of avoiding meat for animal welfare and human health, protecting the earth’s limited resources is a strong cause to eat plant-based for World Water Day.
Other advantages come from cutting back on or eliminating meat and dairy from our diet. A diet rich in plant-based foods has been shown in numerous studies to provide significant health benefits. According to the World Health Organization, global obesity has tripled since 1975, with more than 1.9 billion overweight adults and 381 million overweight or obese children. Obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer are all lower in people who eat fewer animal products, according to research from direct to consumer wellness firm wellbeing Gold Bee. Farm animals, who spend their whole lives in cages or crates, unable to exercise, engage in natural behaviors, and often unable to turn around due to a lack of room, benefit from replacing meat, milk, and eggs provided by industrial agriculture.
Contacts in the media:
What are the benefits of a vegetarian diet in terms of water conservation?
Animals must eat in order to generate meat for humans.
Grain makes up a large part of their diet in most circumstances. The grain-to-meat conversion isn’t perfect: “one pound of grain in” doesn’t always equal “one pound of meat out.”
The grain-to-meat conversion is calculated in the following way by various authorities and researchers:
Table 3 shows the amount of grains* (kg) consumed by US livestock in order to produce one kilogram of meat.
Is it true that a vegetarian diet consumes less water?
A plant-based diet saves a lot of water when compared to a traditional Western animal-based diet.
The UNESCO Institute for Water Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about water.
When compared to a plant-based diet, the manufacturing of a meat-based diet uses twice as much water.
National Geographic Magazine:
“On average, a vegan, or someone who doesn’t eat meat or dairy, uses approximately 600 gallons less water per day than someone who eats the typical American diet.”
Is a change in diet a viable option for reducing water consumption? IOP Science (International Organization for the Promotion of Science):
“Reducing animal products in the human diet offers the potential to save water resources up to the amount currently required to feed 1.8 billion extra people globally,” according to a study published in 2014.
The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving water management around the world.
“Western diets, which rely heavily on meat, are already putting significant environmental strains on the planet. Meat eaters consume over 5,000 litres of water per day, compared to 1,000-2,000 litres consumed by vegetarians in developing nations.”
John Anthony Allan, Ph.D.:
Plant-based diets, he claims, are healthier “the magical demand management thing that might be done for global water security, almost halving our water footprint For this reason, he switched to a plant-based diet.
Arjen Hoekstra (Arjen Hoekstra):
“Animal products are the single most important contributor in humanity’s water footprint,” says the report, adding that “we need to reconsider the role of meat and dairy in modern man’s diet.” He, too, switched to a plant-based diet after conducting his own research.
The #SolveDifferent campaign of the United Nations:
Describes how “Consumer water use is a drop in the bucket compared to agriculture and, specifically, animal farming, according to new graphics that depict the staggering quantities of water required to make food using animals and encourages people to eat plant-based proteins to save water.
For a year, how much water do you save by going vegetarian?
Going vegan is the best way to save water, go “green,” and, of course, aid animals, according to the eco-conscious hottie. And consider this: becoming vegan can save around 219,000 gallons of water per year.
One gallon of milk requires 1,000 gallons of water, while cattle has an overall water footprint of about 4 million gallons per ton. Vegetables, on the other hand, have a water footprint of roughly 85,000 gallons per ton.
And runoff from factory farms and cattle grazing is a major source of pollution in rivers and lakes, as well as a source of viruses and bacteria in groundwater.
So, how should we commemorate World Water Day and ensure that this vital resource is protected all year? The solution is as obvious as, well, water.
How would a person’s water footprint be reduced if they ate less meat?
The first stage is to demonstrate how much water is required to support the average American’s lifestyle. But conserving water entails far more than the common suggestion to take shorter showers and wash fewer loads of laundry. While such activities are necessary, there are other ways to save even more money.
Agriculture’s Big Water Footprint
Agriculture is a major user of surface and groundwater in the United States. Agriculture accounts for 80% of all consumptive water use in the United States. Many people were surprised by what were once considered obscure statistics regarding the water used to produce our food when the unprecedented California drought struck two seasons ago. There were a lot of headlines about how an almond needed just over a gallon of water to grow.
Fruits, vegetables, grains, and pulses (such as beans) have a lesser water footprint than meat, dairy, and nuts. Beef is supreme in terms of large water footprints: One pound of beef requires approximately 1,800 gallons of water to produce. This is due to the fact that cattle are physically enormous, live for a long time, eat a lot of food, and are inefficient at turning feed to meat (compared to, say, chickens). Most beef cattle in the United States are reared on feedlots for a large amount of their life, and they eat a lot of feed manufactured from grains like corn, sorghum, barley, and oats. Growing feed, especially grains for cattle feed, necessitates a large amount of water. When those crops are irrigated, this can be an issue for already stressed water resources.
Aside from water used for animal feed, how and where water is used has a significant impact. Crops grown in places where rainfall is plentiful tend to put less strain on water supplies. On the other hand, thirsty crops cultivated in arid places or drought-prone areas can make it difficult to use water sustainably when irrigation is required. When fragile water sources are used to improve crop production, there are additional challenges. Irrigation in the water-stressed Republican River basin in Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas, for example, nearly quadrupled from 2002 to 2016.
Another form of conflict is competition between different sorts of water consumers. A considerable proportion of US crops are cultivated in locations where water is scarce, such as California and other arid Western states, the drought-prone Southeast, and even the Great Plains, where a major aquifer is being depleted due to agricultural misuse. Water demands vary by sector, including energy, industrial, residential, and the natural environment, all of which compete with agriculture.
Finally, no place is immune to drought or water resource issues, even if only for a short time. Water supplies will become increasingly challenged as rainfall and drought patterns continue to fluctuate and deepen, putting a strain on farming and food production. Farmers and food firms are discovering that they need to evaluate and understand how water is utilized throughout the production chain in order to assess the extent of their water consumption and identify areas where they can cut back in order to use water more sustainably. At the same time, farmers, ranchers, and other producers must be cognizant of the process’s water contamination. This is significant because pollution raises water consumption since more water is needed to clear up pollution.
How Can We Lower Our Water Footprints?
Water footprints demonstrate that water use and food intake are not mutually exclusive. We are not only residential water users; we are also agricultural water users as persons. Following the California drought, customers began to realize that they were not only eating California almonds, but also “eating the water that irrigated them.” The same can be said for foods and goods brought in from other countries. Water footprints allow consumers to connect their purchases and behaviors to the amount of water consumed in goods and services.
Changes in how we eat can contribute to reductions in agricultural water usage, just as conservation measures can help lower domestic water consumption. Consumers can make better sustainable decisions by learning about the water footprint of the food they eat. (Reducing our water footprints can also help to reduce pollution in the oceans around us.)
A person can save water by eating in a variety of ways:
- Eat Less Meat: Eating less meat reduces one’s water footprint by lowering the amount of water needed to produce the meat. A person who skips a beef burger, for example, saves all of the water used to grow the grain the animals ate, reducing their water footprint by about 660 gallons. Consider practicing Meatless Monday, which is a weekly meat-free day. Your meat consumption will be reduced by 15%.
- When meat is on the menu, choose meat and animal products from animals kept on well-managed pastures, which eat grass and forage that is irrigated with rainwater rather than feed irrigated with valuable surface and groundwater. Aside from more sustainable water use, raising animals on grass and pasture has other advantages, such as reduced air, water, and soil pollution, reduced antibiotic use in cattle and poultry, and enhanced animal wellbeing.
- Eat More Whole Foods: Because it takes more water to process and package food, eating more whole foods and less highly processed foods is another approach to reduce water footprints. For example, a one-pound package of potato chips uses 125 gallons of water, whereas a pound of entire potatoes uses 34 gallons.
- Food Waste: Another strategy to reduce water footprints is to prevent wasting food. In the United States, 30 to 40% of food is wasted, with the majority of this perfectly good food being thrown out at home. That equates to approximately 400 pounds of food thrown away each person per year. We waste food by wasting the water, energy, land, and seeds (not to mention the work and animals) that were used to produce it. Food waste reduction is a sensible strategy to reduce environmental impact and water consumption.
What effect does consuming meat have on water consumption?
Beef and Other Meat’s Water Footprint Meat has a substantially greater water footprint than vegetables, grains, or beans, pound for pound. On average, 1,800 gallons of water are used to create one pound of beef. The remaining 98 percent is used to water the grass, fodder, and feed that cattle consume throughout their lives.
What methods do you use to conserve water?
25 Water-Saving Ideas
- Check for leaks in your toilet.
- Stop using your toilet as a trash can or an ashtray.
- Fill your toilet tank with a plastic bottle.
- Showers should be shorter.
- Install flow restrictors or water-saving shower heads.
- While brushing your teeth, turn off the water.
- While shaving, turn off the water.
Is it possible for water to be vegan?
Vegan water is water that has been specially formulated to be suitable for vegans. Water is a necessary component; however, certain water may not be vegan-friendly. Vegan water is perfect for vegans because it is made without the usage of any animals in the manufacturing process.
In the United States, for example, water can be filtered by carbon filters, which are typically constructed from animal bones. As a result, because animals were used to obtain it, water filtered through bone carbon is not considered vegan friendly.
Is it necessary for vegans to drink extra water?
Hydration is crucial for everyone, but it’s especially important for people who eat a lot of fiber, like many vegans. Increased fluid consumption can be beneficial to one’s health, especially for those who are chronically dehydrated or at risk of becoming dehydrated. For most people, the best approach to stay hydrated is to drink water. Other foods contain fluid, which can help you achieve your daily fluid requirements.
Which type of diet necessitates more water: a largely vegetarian diet or a meat-based diet?
With 840 million people undernourished in the globe and another 2 billion due to be born in the next 20 years, obtaining water to grow food will be one of the most difficult difficulties countries will face.
“There will be enough food for everyone on average in 20 years,” said Dr. David Molden, lead scientist at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), which is part-funded by the British government and looking into worldwide solutions for feeding expanding populations.
“The simple fact is that groundwater levels are plunging and our rivers are already overstressed,” the IWMI research states, “yet there is a lot of complacency about the future.”
“Western diets, which rely heavily on meat, are already putting significant environmental strains on the planet. Meat eaters drink approximately 5,000 litres of water per day, compared to 1,000-2,000 litres consumed by vegetarians in developing nations. There has to be a source for all that water.”
Scientists are coming to the conclusion that feeding future generations the average Western European and North American diet without damaging the ecosystem would be nearly impossible.
When economically feasible, most people switch to a meat and vegetable diet, which requires more water than crops like wheat and maize. 1kg of wheat requires 1,790 litres of water to grow, whereas 1kg of beef requires 9,680 litres of water.
According to the IWMI’s assessment, people are unlikely to change their dietary patterns due to concerns over water supply. “And in many Sub-Saharan African nations, where water scarcity will worsen the greatest in the next 20 years, people will need to consume more, not less,” the paper states.
Anders Berntell, head of the Stockholm-based International Water Institute, said: “The future water supply of the world is a challenge that is… bigger than we’ve realized.
“We need to cut back on the quantity of water we use to grow food. Simply put, the world is running out of water.”
According to research, up to 24% more water would be required to grow the world’s food in 20 years, but many of the world’s fastest-growing countries are unable to commit more water to agriculture without jeopardizing ecosystems that provide water or fish.
The idea of expanded global trade in virtual water appears plausible, according to the experts, but they recognize that it is contingent on countries having the financial means to import food. “The question remains whether the countries most affected by water scarcity will be able to afford virtual water,” according to the paper.
It claims that a combination of high-tech and traditional water conservation measures are the greatest solutions for feeding the globe. Improved crop types, better tillage practices, and more accurate irrigation could help farmers save water while increasing yields.
Drought-resistant seeds, water harvesting schemes, and small-plot technology like treadle pumps, according to the paper, have the potential to increase yields by 100%.
The researchers did not look into the usage of genetically modified foods, which have been praised by some companies as a solution to avert large-scale food shortages.
“Even without GM foods, there is the potential to boost water production in many places of the world. There is hope even without them “According to one of the report’s writers.
Farmers might also use more urban waste water for irrigation, which is another alternative being investigated. It’s believed that up to 10% of the world’s population now consumes food grown with sewage water from cities.
Within 20 years, cities are expected to use 150 percent more water, which will be both a problem and an opportunity.
“As a result, there will be more waste water, but less fresh water accessible for cultivation. Using waste water may become a requirement rather than an option in the future “, according to the paper.
Western governments, according to the authors, need to rethink their policies: “Agricultural subsidies keep world commodity prices low in poor nations, discouraging farmers from investing because they will not see a return.
“People will invest in long-term improvements if they have land and water rights.”