Eating Water

 

The facts of the world water crisis are staggering. More than half of the global population today live in areas where there is no readily-available access to clean water. More than two billion people live without safe drinking water at home, and, incomprehensibly, nearly a billion people on the planet live without guaranteed access to any water.

The effects of climate change will only worsen this horrifying situation. According to a Food Security report issued by the Natural Resources Defense Council, by 2025, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population will lack sufficient drinking water.

Interestingly, global water use could be quickly reduced not by a change in our drinking habits but rather by a shift in our diet. Today, commercial agriculture accounts for 70% of water use worldwide. The majority of that water goes to growing commercial grain, and the majority of that commercial grain is used to feed the animals we eat.

Beef is a particular problem. The corn-fed cattle the typical carnivore consumes have themselves consumed roughly one ton of grain during their lives. Since it takes roughly 1,000 tons of water to grow each ton of commercial grain, those carnivores are also consuming roughly 1,000 tons of water each year in order to maintain their meat-based diet.