Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What About Water?

I've spent quite a bit of time on this blog discussing energy use on the Lasell College campus. I want to switch gears today to discuss something I know much more about- water. I spent five years studying the transpiration of water from trees. I can tell you the significance of water to sustaining life on Earth. Life depends on water. Globally, an increasing number of people are facing water quality and quantity issues.

We are all familiar with tools to calculate our carbon footprint. Now, a group of water resource researchers at the University of Twente are promoting awareness of water footprints.

Cruising their web site is enlightening. While it is easy to comprehend the quantity of water we consume bathing or cooking, the water used in the production of goods and services is not so transparent. The group has done some life cycle assessment of various goods and services and calculated the water footprint. Let me give you a few examples. To produce 1 kg of beef consumes 16,000 liters of water. Producing 1 apple uses 70 liters of water and to produce 1 glass of apple juice takes 190 liters of water.

I encourage you to take a look at their site. It is interesting and probably something you have not considered. They propose a concept of water neutrality. What does a water neutral college campus look like? That is something I will have to think about.

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