The Hidden Cost of Water

Across the globe, more than 2 billion people live in extreme water stress areas; where the demand for freshwater surpasses the volume available for use, or when poor water quality, limits its use; but water covers 70% of our planet – so why is it so sparse?

Rapid global population growth, overpopulation and over-development of freshwater resources are key drivers of water stress, with many finite water supplies pushed to their very limits just to meet basic demand. Individuals living in 17 countries, across all seven continents, live in extreme water stress conditions, where agriculture, industry and municipalities account for more than 80% of the available surface and groundwater resources.

While water security isn’t a problem we have traditionally worried about here in the UK, droughts are predicted to become more severe over the next 100 years; with some experts warning that dry summers could result in up to 80% less water in our rivers by 2050, and that two-thirds of the world’s population will face water shortages by 2025.

So where does it all go?

A huge amount of water is hidden in the everyday items found in our homes; from clothes, white goods and furniture to the food we eat; In Britain, it is estimated that the hidden water found in our everyday consumables brings our individual daily water footprints to almost 3,400 litres – hidden water is everywhere!

What is a water footprint?

A water footprint is a measure of the amount of water utilised by an individual or organisation and is defined as the total volume of water used to grow, produce and transport the goods and services consumed by the individual, or produced by the organisation. We’ve put together the below infographic to help you understand the impact of water scarcity, and to highlight just some of the ways you can reduce your own water footprint!