What is a Water Footprint?

A water footprint. How weird? I can’t walk on water, sadly I’m not Jesus!

Water footprints.jpg

 I realised that I’ve been throwing the term ‘water footprint’ around like it is common parlance - maybe in my water obsessed life, but most likely not in yours. (If you do happen to have a passion for water, please get in touch. Water friends. Yay! )


What’s your number? 


Every person in the WHOLE world has a number. (All I can think about is the film – “what’s your number?”). But today it’s not about how many people you’ve taken to bed, but how many litres of water you use directly and indirectly every day. The average UK citizen’s water footprint is 4645 litres a day.


So if you are going to join me on this journey so that we can save the world’s water together, it is vital that we both know what ‘water footprint’ means. 


Getting back to basics


A water footprint is the amount of water it takes to make everything we consume: what we use, eat, buy or sell. 


water footprint calculator

Each product or service we consume has a water footprint. Its measurements vary from the amount used for a single process, such as growing a potato (1kg – 287 litres); or for the fuel we put in our car (1 mile - 2.84 litres); or for the amount of water used to produce a pair of jeans (7000 litres). 


The water footprint is a measure of humanity’s appropriation of fresh water in volumes of water consumed and/or polluted.


Here are some water footprint examples of common everyday items and actions:

  • One slice of bread - 40 litres

  • One pint of milk - 600 litres

  • One beef burger - 2,400 litres

  • Running a tap - 12 litres a minute

  • One cotton T-shirt - 2,700 litres

Why not try and work out your water footprint? 


You can work out your water footprint here.

 **Note it doesn’t include travel or your shopping habits. These both would add a significant contribution. 


Mine is 106 cubic metres = 106,000 litres a year = 290 litres a day (+ shopping habits, + travel). 

I’ve still got a way to go. We can always do more. I’m now focusing more on sustainable shopping habits.

What’s yours? Comment below.

Now we know we can act. How will you change your water footprint today?