Individual vs. Legislative Approaches to Use of Water – Part 2

(Continued from part 1)

After consulting a variety of documents I read through DEFRA‘s (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) report from March 2016, “Enabling resilience in the water sector” added on Water UK’s website.
In relation to the deregulation plan, point 73 is centred on promoting markets, and water is considered as an asset delivering benefits, improving incentives and facilitating markets.

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Individual vs. Legislative Approaches to Use of Water – Part 1

As you can tell by my previous post as part of blog on the water cost everything has, I believe in everybody’s power to make the most at having their voice heard.

Many people feel that what they can do when it comes to climate change or environmental depletion may be worthless, however I am of the opinion that when each person’s initiatives and actions are combined, the results can be truly meaningful and an aid to spur positive change in mindset, which can result in a lower virtual water footprint.

At the same time, my eyes and mind remain wide open: all it takes is one conversation to challenge my views and encourage me to think differently.

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Your Clothes’ Water Footprint

Aside from needing to fuel ourselves every day with food which includes a very changeable amount of virtual water, another of our quotidian actions consists of wearing some sort of clothing. A couple of recent extracurricular activities shifted my attention back to virtual water within this context.

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What is virtual water, and how can it be tangible?

At the start of the academic year, I looked for a selective module which would include climate change and which would have a more practical approach to learn differently and combine it with last year’s theory.
I selected a module from the Geography department, Global Environmental Change.

In the past months I’ve been learning about global changes our planet is experiencing from a more scientific approach. I really enjoyed that, and it made my mind take a glance at the memories of studying geography in a small classroom that smelled of pencil sharpenings and had a map which read “Jugoslavia”.

As part of this module, each student created a blog on a topic of choice.
I chose mine to be about virtual water, the water which is indirectly needed to make everything we use: from extraction processes, to servicing, to growing food for us or animals that some of us eat. It’s funny that I first got to know about it 5 years ago now, and wrote about it on this blog then.

For my uni module I wanted to bring home the concept of virtual water by making it more concrete, so I called it Tangible Virtual Water.

I will post the articles I wrote for it here too. This was the first post.


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Water: Hidden Everywhere – Vegan Day 21

It’s Sunday and the Sun is out and the birds are singing on my 21st vegan day!

Since I started being interested in living a more sustainable life, many things I learned have surprised me.

One of them is the hidden use of water there is in producing pretty much anything we might use during the day, from what we eat, to what we drink, from what we wear to which kind of fuel and energy source we use, everything has a “water cost”.

Some of the water may be needed to grow the food that feeds the animals that will be used for meat, some will be used during the processing…

When you click on the link you’ll be able to not only see the “water cost” but also compare different types of food and materials.

Would you believe that 2,500 litres of water are needed to produce 1 single burger, most of which goes towards the production of the beef? With all the burgers eaten in the world in a day, I actually don’t understand how we still have any water left…!

And chocolate? 12,000 litres for 500g, a pound of chocolate! Another reason not to over indulge in this precious food…

One T-Shirt needs 2,700 litres…I’m glad I never ever throw away clothes but give them to charity!

According to the “Hidden Water: 200 litres for a latte” article from online Italian paper, the U.S. and China are the countries that use the most water.

What would cost more water? Black Coffee or Tea with Milk?

The thing is, no matter where you are, every one of us could do more to use less and waste less precious water!

With all the aquatic species that are key to our ecosystem’s balance, and the world’s fresh water being so limited (only 2.5% of all the water on Earth!), it’s really essential to be careful with the amount of water we use.

Florida Everglades: I don’t want these wetlands to dry up! Photo from National Geographic

Plus, saving water saves you money!!

Read about tips on how to save water with simple everyday actions.

I think the easiest good habits to save water are:

  • Always load your dishwasher and washing machine fully before using;
  • Make sure your taps don’t leak;
  • Eat less meat;
  • Buy less;
  • Recycle more;
  • Turn off the taps when you are brushing your teeth and washing the dishes, just think of all the water and money you’ll save in a year!

Do you know much about water? This National Geographic quiz is so interesting and fun! My result was 70%, what was yours?

Where you suprised by the hidden use of water too? I’d love to know!