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BY GEORGE: Our most precious resource

Most of us sure have it easy living in the U.S., for a wide variety of reasons.  But one in particular stands out:  cheap, clean and safe water.  As a matter of fact, if water in this country were to be “fairly” priced using economic metrics that account for the actual cost of receiving, shipping, cleaning, filtering, delivering, etc., depending on your community, the real cost would be up to 12 times what we now pay on average in this country.

It's not just cheap and safe, it’s easy to access, and it’s hard to find a place in the country where you actually can’t find any that’s near to places we live.  Sure, you can scour the desert and be on your own, but let’s face it, where everyone lives, you can generally find it with the ease of a twist of a facet, press of a button, or a purchase at a store.

However, this is not a paper to scold and delve into politics.  It’s a story of the amount of water it takes to feed us.  Often, this is the hidden source of water use (at least to the average American), but it’s huge, and it varies tremendously, depending on the food.  So, let’s check the numbers:

Agriculture accounts for 92% of humanity’s water footprint.  That said, you’ll find below a list of the “water footprint” per unit of nutritional value that we extract for human nutrition and survival.

Roots:           0.5
Cereals         0.5
Legumes      1.3
Vegetables   1.4
Milk               1.9
Fruits            2.2
Pork              2.3
Eggs             2.4
Chicken        3.2
Sheep/Goat  4.5
Beef            10.8

The point here is the highlight the excessive stress on water resources we place on having an animal-focused diet.  I never knew it was so extreme compared to non-animal products.

Outside of feeding our population, imagine the water use involved in “cosmetic” applications, i.e., lawn and tree care, recreational activities, and endless others (do you turn off the water as you brush your teeth?).

So, next time you use water, think about how lucky we are in this country to have something so cheap and easy to access at a moments notice.

By: George Elliott

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