Food and Water: How Much is Needed to Produce Our Food?

Food and Water: How Much is Needed to Produce Our Food?

Food and water – two resources absolutely vital to our existence. When it comes to what we eat, many don’t consider the role that water plays in producing our food. To produce enough food to sustain the planet’s population, 52.8 million gallons of water per second are required.

Of our total water consumption, food accounts for approximately 66 percent. So much of our water footprint – the amount of water utilized – is hidden. It’s difficult to visualize, because we don’t see the water it takes to create the end products.

How much Water Is in Our Food?

  • It takes approximately 240 gallons of water to produce a loaf of bread.
  • A small soda requires 46 gallons of water to produce.
  • 12 gallons of water are used to produce a small serving of potato chips.
  • To brew a gallon of tea, it takes 108 gallons of water.
  • To brew a gallon of coffee, 1,056 gallons of water are needed.
  • One gallon of wine requires 872 gallons of water to produce – your 5-oz. serving requires 34 gallons of water.
  • A gallon of beer needs 296 gallons of water – the average 12-oz. serving takes 28 gallons to make.

Meat Requires the Most Water

Pound for pound, meat requires more water to produce than any other food group. Water is consumed throughout the production process, from growing the animal’s food and the drinking water animals drink, to the overall meat production process.

A ¼ lb. hamburger requires 53 gallons of water to produce. This water is for cows to drink, and to irrigate the crops which will become their feed. The average American consumes 271 pounds of meat per year – the average global citizen only 103 pounds. To produce that 271 pounds in hamburger, each American would require 57,172 gallons of water per year – just for the meat they eat! Eating meat accounts for 30 percent of the U.S.’s water footprint.

  • A pound of chicken takes 518 gallons of water to produce.
  • A pound of pork requires 718 gallons of water.

Meat aside, other animal products we consume also require vast amounts of water. A pound of eggs needs 395 gallons of water to produce. A pound of cheese requires 382 gallons of water and a pound of butter requires 665 gallons of water. Two pints of milk needs 122 gallons of water to create.

In a world where everything we touch frequently changes, water is a true constant in our lives. It is sometimes easy to overlook just how integral water is to our lives. We’ll always need it to drink, for washing our hands, and even to produce the food we consume every day. Our employees understand this and work hard every day to protect it. After all, our families are customers too.