Work is already underway for the installation of domestic water meters throughout Donegal. It is essential then that we reduce our ‘wter footprint’ in an effort to minimise costs. Now an EU supported website can help you calculate your individual water footprint.
Our individual water footprint is the sum of the water footprints of all the goods and services we consume. According to scientists from the University of Twente in the Netherlands, the global average water footprint per consumer between 1996 and 2005 was 3800 l/day (1385 m3/year). The average figure for a German consumer was 3900 l/day (1426 m3/year) and for a Spanish consumer was 6700 l/day (2461 m3/year).
An average Danish consumer had a footprint of 4500 l/day (1635 m3/year) while the figure in Poland was 3800 l/day (1405 m3/year).
What the study also revealed was that our pattern and volume of consumption has a direct impact on our water footprint. Someone who drinks a lot of coffee and regularly eats meat, for example, is likely to have a much higher water footprint than a vegetarian who drinks tap water.
It’s also important to recognise the difference between internal and external water footprints. For countries that rely heavily on foreign water resources, the main impacts of their consumption and pollution are externalised, meaning the country that supplies the water is the one directly affected. This is the case for much of Europe. In fact, some European countries such as Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have external water footprints that make up 60-95% of their total water footprint.
You can work out your own footprint by using the calculator from the Water Footprint Network : http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=cal/WaterFootprintCalculator
Source: Hoekstra, A.Y. and Mekonnen, M.M. (2012) The water footprint of humanity, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi/10.1073/pnas.1109936109.