This Is How Much Water It Takes To Make Jeans, Burgers, Pizza And Other Stuff

Even though water covers nearly three-quarters of this blue dot of ours, most of that is salt water. We need freshwater to fuel the world. And freshwater is not as limitless as it seems, so wasting is it a no no. Here's how much water we use to make, well, the things we use.

The water footprint of products comes from Imagine All the Water, a site created by the European Commission:

  • Beef - 15,415 litres of water
  • Hamburger - 2,393 litres of water
  • Pizza - 1,216 litres of water
  • Jeans - 9,982 litres of water
  • Shoes - 8,547 litres of water
  • T-Shirt - 2,495 litres of water
  • Rice - 2,497 litres of water
  • Chocolate - 1,720 litres of water
  • Beer - 170 litres of water per pint
  • Cheese - 152 litres of water
  • Coffee - 132 litres of water per cup
  • Apple - 82 litres of water
  • Loaf of Bread - 48 litres of water
  • Paper - 13 litres of water per sheet

What do those numbers mean? Well, making a T-shirt is the equivalent of flushing a toilet 250 times. Making a pair of jeans? That's hosing your lawn for nine hours straight. Even something as small as a loaf of bread requires crying non-stop for 84 days straight. If you think about it, the numbers make sense. For something like an apple, there's only so many steps of water it needs to grow. For something like a burger? Raising cattle requires water, using wheat for the bun needs water, vegetables need water and so on, it's a multi-step process that requires water at nearly every step.

Check out the Imagine All the Water website to see your water footprint and what you can do about it. [Imagine All the Water]

Image: Jag_cz/Shutterstock


    OMG if we keep using water like this, all the water on earth will get used up and we'll end up as dry as the desert!

      My sarcasm detector is going off the scale.

      Sure it will

    I might go and water my cows, that way i will have more beef. In all seriousness we should be more careful with our water, it's not as if it just falls from the sky.

    The problem here lies "Water Used"
    Materials on our planet simply don't just disappear, they change.
    Those 15415 L of water used for beef will go back into river systems at some stage again in life.
    The cow drinks the water, the cow sweats and urinates the water.
    This is turned into condensation, goes back into the ground etc...

    This is why these points seem so extravagant.
    Because everything is re-used in a cycle :)

      Some of those resources may can many many thousands of years to cycle back around.

    Presumably the commentators above don't realize that (a) there is a worldwide shortage of potable water (including in Europe, but obviously much worse elsewhere) and (b) a large proportion of the water used in industrial production and agriculture is potable prior to use but polluted afterwards. It comes from the same dams and rivers as drinking water. Yes, it comes back, but most of the rain falls in the ocean, and the dams fill up more slowly than we consume them.

    There'll always be enough water. You just won't be able to drink it.

      Of course there will always be enough water. It's just a matter of providing enough energy (money) to make it drinkable.

    I can't give any information for other industries, but the paper industry recycles most of it's water.

      I heard somewhere that recycled paper costs more energy/water/money per sheet than managed timber farming.

      This true?

    It's true. The water's running out, and half of humanity will surely die ...
    but it won't be the better half!

    Oh my god! Who would've believed a single grain of rice would require 2,497 litres of water?!?!?! Does that include the litre you need to cook it?
    It might have made a bit more sense to put quantities on everything perhaps???

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