At lunch the other day, a friend of mine indicated that she knew how to save water because she was a “Drought Baby.”  I asked her what that meant and she indicated that, because she grew up in the 1970’s (there was a serious drought in California from 1976-77) and that she was quite proficient about conserving water and had done so for years.  Her mother would only turn the faucet on half-way to wash their produce and only wash the veggies for a couple of seconds “you did not need to us so much water when washing your vegetables.”  What I found most interesting about my friend’s tales of water conservation, was not the creative ways her mother had reduced their family’s water consumption, but that she was eating a Roast Beef Sandwich while claiming to be a “Drought Baby.”  Did you know that it takes 1,850 gallons of water to make one piece of steak?

Food for thought, did you know that 95% of your water foot print is hidden in the food we eat?  Only 5% of the water we use to survive comes from bathing, washing, toilets, garden hoses, etc.  As we embark on the next phase of water conservation, we, as consumers, will need to consider the foods we choose.  Recently there have been articles on a variety of websites, discussing the Drought in California and how that will effect the price of produce.  What I find interesting about these articles is that the only discuss the price of produce, and don’t give consumers suggestions on what they can do.

So, as a Water Baby (I am Aquarius, am passionate about water, and feel very small when standing near the ocean).  I suggest that we consider the imbedded water in what we eat.  Is it possible for you and your family to celebrate “Meatless Mondays”?  Or perhaps “Fish Fridays”?  Please don’t distort my words to suggest that I am saying to conserve water, you have to give up beef.  Or not eat at all.  I am merely hoping that you will consider (and celebrate) the food you choose and understand your “water footprint.”

We are “water” we eat.

Water Conservation Showcase: Food Facts

It takes 1,500,000 gallons of water to produce the food consumed each year by the average U.S. Resident.

– National Park Service

 Water required to produce some foods:

Food                                                        Gallons/Pound

lettuce                                                                         23

tomatoes                                                                     30

carrots                                                                         33

oranges                                                                       49

apples                                                                         49

tomato sauce                                                              52

potatoes                                                                      60

broccoli                                                                      65

cantaloupe                                                                  80

milk                                                                            96

orange juice                                                               98

wheat                                                                          108

wheat bread                                                                126

corn                                                                            168

plain yogurt                                                               176

white bread                                                                198

avocado                                                                      220

white sugar                                                                 224

soybeans                                                                   240

tofu                                                                             244

brown rice                                                                  256

pasta                                                                           288

alfalfa                                                                         360

white rice                                                                   400

eggs                                                                             573

chicken                                                                       815

cheese                                                                         896

almonds                                                                      1,280

pork                                                                            1,630

butter                                                                          2,044

beef                                                                   500-5,000

Sources include the Water Education Foundation, University of California Agricultural Extension & Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment, Conservation and Health edited by David Pimentel

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