You knew you had a footprint – two in fact. And you recently learned that your daily goings about produce a carbon footprint. But far less well-known is the water footprint – a calculation of the fresh water required to produce/sustain anything from an individual, country, company, process or product.  

A few notable H2Oprints from Waterfootprint.org:

- 2,500,000 liters per year per capita in US
- 70 liters for one apple
- 2400 liters for one hamburger (!)
- 140 liters for 1 cup of coffee

And by way of comparison, consider the water used to create energy. Virginia Tech just released a chart tallying the water footprint of different energy sources with some interesting findings.

“Results show that in terms of energy production, biodiesel (soy-based) is the least efficient energy source followed by corn-based ethanol. Natural gas as an energy source is the most water efficient. In terms of power generation, nuclear energy is the least water efficient while hydroelectric power is the most water use efficient system.”

Finally, to learn how you measure up, there are a few different H2O calculators out there. Check here and here. Those watery tracks you leave after climbing out of a swimming pool will never look quite the same.

Story by Victoria Schlesinger. This article originally appeared in Plenty in May 2008. The story was added to MNN.com in July 2009.

Copyright Environ Press 2008