Monday ramblings: Hidden Water

Ever wonder “Wow, this is a delicious hamburger!  I wonder how much water was used to grow the food that fed the cow that is now feeding me?”

Well… wait no longer!

Also known as “virtual water” or “embedded water”, Hidden Water refers to the water that is contained in the products that we consume.  This includes everything from food products (beef, pork, milk, coffee) to non-consumables (cotton, paper, etc).

National Geographic’s “Hidden Water” link is a useful tool to understand the volume of water required to produce certain food and non-food items.

Key point for illustrating relevance of water issues

The concept of hidden water is something that is easy to grasp for the average consumer.  It is also the concept which links  consumption patterns in the industrialized world with the location that produced those goods.  This is not always going to be relevant, since a famine in Africa that affects the availability of millet and sorghum is not really relevant to a US market that mostly doesn’t know that millet and sorghum are food.

However, in the face of global change, especially with regions all over the world experiencing climate stress simultaneously, hidden water may become an economically relevant issue.

Hopefully I’ll be updating the QANAT soon with some water news… till then check these WATER NEWS sites:

Water News @ Circle of Blue

The Week that Was @ Chance of rain


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