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How Much Water Are You Really Consuming?


California is in a serious drought. Governor Brown has declared a 25% mandatory reduction in water use for the first time in the state's history.

It's time to save water if only a gallon at a time.

Most Californians have already started conserving -- installing low flow shower heads, grey water recovery systems and recycling the water from their homes to use in their gardens.

But households only account for a fraction of water consumption in the state. The real guzzlers are agriculture and livestock.


California's Biggest Water-Footprint Has Hooves

Consider this. For the amount of water used for just 1 pound of beef could you could:

  • Take 37 showers or baths
  • Wash 45 loads of laundry
  • Leave the garden hose running for a week

That is because of the water consumption of cattle includes not just the what they drink, but also the thousands of gallons it takes to grow the hay and grain they eat.

California is America's fruit and vegetable basket. We grow 99% of all the almonds consumed in the U.S. and it takes more than a gallon of water just to raise one! You do the math.

The same goes for virtually everything we eat -- even the clothes on our backs. Everything requires water at some phase of its production. Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink!

Water Consumption chart e

So what's your Water Footprint?

Here are a few more numbers* by the gallon along with a link to a calculator to help.

    • Head of lettuce = 3.5 gallons
    • Tomato = 3.3 gallons
    • Washing dishes by hand (10 min.) = 25 gallons
    • Glass of orange juice = 45 gallons
    • Slice of wheat bread = 10.6 gallons
    • Leaky faucet (50 drips/min.) = 2628 gallons/year
    • 1 pound of sugar = 180 gallons
    • 1 pound of chicken = 519 gallons
    • 1 egg = 53 gallons
    • Olympic sized swimming pool = 660,000 gallons
    • Ice skating rink = 12-15,000 gallons
    • Sunday paper = 80 gallons
    • 1 hamburger = 1000 gallons
    • 1 orange = 22 gallons
    • 1 pound of potatoes = 119 gallons
    • Set of new tires = 2072 gallons


*All of these figures are estimates.

(AFP/Getty Images)

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