Q:

How do I determine the size of my water footprint?

A:

Quick Answer

Calculate the size of your water footprint by recording all activities that directly or indirectly lead to water consumption. Use a reference table to convert different activities to cubic units of water usage a year. Alternatively, use a preset water footprint calculator, such as the one available from GRACE Communications Foundation, that completes the conversions automatically and calculates the final total.

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Full Answer

  1. Add up food consumption

    Although you aren't directly using the water, the amounts of water used to manufacture food are included in your water footprint. Count up the weight of meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables consumed in a week. Include beverages, such as tea and coffee.

  2. Calculate domestic water usage

    The water you use in your home is your most direct contribution to your water footprint. Count the number and average length of showers taken each week. Add together the number of times you complete a load of laundry or run the dishwasher. Apply a discount if using low-flow toilets and shower heads.

  3. List outdoor activities

    Include water used to maintain landscaping and gardening. Count the average length of time you spend washing your car and the driveway. Include calculations for pool usage if you own a personal swimming pool.

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