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Archive for February 5th, 2008

How Much Water?

Posted by feww on February 5, 2008

Water Facts

  • Total water on Earth: Approx 1.4 x 10^18 m³
  • Water in the oceans: 97.5% of the total
  • Volume of Fresh water: 35 x 10^15 m³ (0.25% of the earth’s total water). About 0.3% of the freshwater is held in rivers, lakes, and reservoirs and the remainder is stored in glaciers, permanent snow, and groundwater aquifers.
  • Water contained in the earth’s atmosphere: 13 x 10^12 m³
  • Water removed from the earth’s surface via evaporation: 577 x 10^12 m³ each year (only 14% of the water evaporation is from land).
  • Total annual precipitation falling on land: 115 x 10^12 m³ (20% of total evaporation – the 6% surplus water returns to the oceans via rivers.)
  • Total freshwater on Earth stored as groundwater: 11 x 10^15 m³ (30% of all freshwater).
  • Water collected in lakes and rivers: 110 x 10^12 m³ is held as groundwater (one hundredth of the total groundwater reserves)
  • Aquifers contribution to human water consumption: an estimated 30% [?] of all of the water used throughout the world.
  • Natural recharge rate for the aquifers: from 0.01% to 3% per year.
  • Estimated overdraft of global groundwater: 200 x 10^9 m³ or (twice the average recharge rate!)

What’s the big deal?

Humans are mining groundwater resources, especially the aquifers. Water withdrawal rates from aquifers are drastically higher than their natural recharge rates. In short, we are running out of water!

Water Footprint

Total global water footprint is 7,450 km³ per year (7,450Gm³ per year).

  • Water Consumption USA: 2,480m³/per capita/year (agricultural produce 65%; domestic consumption 8%; industrial goods 27%)
  • World average: 1,146m³/cap/yr
  • China: 700m³
  • Developing [poor] world: 545m³

Food production in the U.S. is responsible for 25% of the country’s toxic water pollution and 40% of the common water pollution.

Average national water footprint per capita (m³/capita/yr). Green indicates a national average water footprint of equal to or smaller than global average. Countries marked in red have a larger water footprint than the global average. Source: A. Y. Hoekstra et al. 2005. Water footprints of nations: Water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern.

What to Do

World’s groundwater reserves are running out! Start conserving water before the earth’s water reserves run completely dry! The following links are portals for water saving measures:
Water sense
H2ouse water saver home

Bottled Water (2007 estimate)

  • Worldwide consumption: 200billion liters (L)
  • US share of the market: 35billion L
  • US Bottled Water Market: $12.5billion
  • US per capita consumption: 115L (annually)

How Much Energy?

Energy used for production and marketing of a 0.5L, or 500cc (17oz) bottle: 34.58MJ, equivalent to 1.017L of gasoline or 2.35kg of CO2 emissions.

1. Above calculation is based on 1000L of water that is pumped, bottled, delivered, sold and consumed locally, i.e., traveling a total distance of about 130 miles (209km) from source to mouth. The total energy required for production was calculated at 69,162,640kJ, equivalent to 2,034L of gasoline, or 4,699kg of CO2 emissions (Michael Bigelow et al , 2005, THE PIPE OR THE BOTTLE? A Case Study on Energy Consumption, Harvey Mudd College, University of Bradford, UK).

2. According to the above study, the energy requirement for delivering 1000L of tap water (Yorkshire, England) was about 269,345kJ (about 7.92L of petrol or approximately 18kg of CO2 emissions), making bottled water 257 times more energy intensive than the tap water.

3. Packaging and shrink-wrapping the bottled water (assumes locally produced water) is responsible for 97.8% of its energy costs.

4. For Bottled water imported by air add 4.5grams of CO2e equivalent greenhouse gases (per0.5-liter-bottle) for each mile of the journey.

5. One liter (L) is about 1.057 quarts, 33.827 fluid ounces, or 1/3.785 gallons.

Time to switch to tap water?

[Use an inexpensive charcoal filter for added safety!]

Main Entry: Drying Wells, Sinking Cities
Related Links: Death by Lethal Pollution

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