Would you like more water with that?

Flat White Coffee

Flat White Coffee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s 120 litres of water in your morning cup of English Breakfast or Earl Grey. Multiply that by ten if you prefer a shot of espresso to start your day. If you enjoy a latte or flat white – another 100 litres of water should cover it.

Undeniably, water is everyone’s most valuable resource – but how can we better understand that value?  What are we using our water for and do we use it wisely? With a wonderful little app designed by some Harvard people, you can track water availability and use where you live, and compare it to other places around the globe. You can see domestic, agricultural and industrial uses – and you can clearly see the places with poor access to water.

With two clicks on the globe you’ll find that New Zealand has about the same water supply as our Australian neighbours, and you may be surprised that across the Tasman, they’re using, on average, twice the water we use per person, every day. How much of that is used by households or agriculture or otherwise? Hover your mouse over the country and you’ll get an idea.

Water is embodied in the things we grow, make and consume. Click an icon to see the water used in a variety of everyday consumables, like bottled water, sugar and soybeans. The downside of this app is it doesn’t appear to be country specific when rating how much water goes into each product. But for a guide to how each country is doing in terms of how much water it has and how much it uses, compared to other places in the world – this site delivers good information, fast.

Check it out here, and get any kids you know to have a look too. Here’s the Harvard story introducing their water footprinting online tool. This is a link direct to the app: http://www.josephbergen.com/viz/water/.

Some ‘water footprints’ from Massey University
Kiwi context – ‘milk footprint’ from Massey University 2011

About robynmmoore

Anything to do with people and the environment and I'm interested! I have been writing and commenting about education, the environment and other community-related matters since 2006. I'm a compulsive researcher. In 2009, I finished a thesis on Kapiti's water issues and am still researching outcomes there. This website and the work I do as a trustee for the Whitireia Foundation are part of my aspiration to contribute to 'shaping more sustainable communities'...also the title of my thesis. Look it up - it's free at www.j.co.nz.
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