How much drinkable water is there in the world? How much water does an American, a European, an African use everyday? How many people lack even basic access to clean water? Circle of Blue’s newest infographic aims to answer these questions and many more.
With 6,000 children dying every day (water fact #7) from preventable water related diseases, readily accessible and easily understood information is vital to solving the world water crisis. Circle of Blue strives to identify and describe the dimensions of the global freshwater crisis in ways not imagined only a few years ago. Print these graphics and post them in your classrooms, offices, homes, or whereever you think people should know more about water.
10 Things You Should Know:
1 – One drop of oil can make up to 25 liters (6.6 gallons) of water undrinkable.
2 – Seventy percent of the world’s water is used for agriculture, 22 percent for industry and 8 percent for domestic use. Low and middle income countries use 82 percent of their water for agriculture, 10 percent for industry and 8 percent for domestic use. High income countries use 30 percent of their water for agriculture, 59 percent for industry and 11 percent for domestic use.
3 – A person is able to survive one month without food but only five to seven days without water.
4 – Of all the Earth’s water, 97.5 percent is salt and 2.5 is fresh. Of that water, about 70 percent is locked in glacial ice and 30 percent in soil, leaving under 1 percent (.007 percent of the total water) readily accessible for human use.
5 – A water footprint, or virtual water, is the amount of water used in the entire production and/or growth of a specific product. For example, 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of beef has a water footprint of 16,000 liters (4,226.8 gallons); one sheet of paper has a water footprint of 10 liters (2.6 gallons); one cup of tea has a water footprint of 35 liters (9.2 gallons); and one microchip has a water footprint of 32 liters (8.5 gallons).
6 – It takes 94.5 to 189.3 liters of water (25 to 50 gallons) to take a five-minute shower; 7.6 to 26.5 liters (2-7 gallons) to flush a toilet; 7.6 liters (2 gallons) to brush one’s teeth; and 75.7 liters (20 gallons) to hand wash dishes.
7 – 6,000 children die each day from preventable water-related diseases.
8 – The population of the United States is approximately 304 million; the population of Europe is approximately 732.7 million; 1.1 billion people lack adequate drinking water access; and 2.6 billion people lack basic water sanitation.
9 – The average American uses about 575 liters of water (151.9 gallons) per day, with about 60 percent of that being used out-of-doors (watering lawns, washing cars, etc.). The average European uses 250 liters of water (66 gallons) per day. 1.1 billion people lack adequate water access, using less than 19 liters (5 gallons) per day.
10 – The average American uses 30.3 times more water than a person who lacks adequate water access; the average European uses 13.2 times more water than a person who lacks adequate water access.
Circle of Blue’s east coast correspondent based in New York. He specializes on water conflict and the water-food-energy nexus. He previously worked as a political risk analyst covering equatorial Africa’s energy sector, and sustainable development in sub-Saharan Africa. Contact: Cody.Pope@circleofblue.org