Would you believe 3?

According to a new water footprint calculator developed by Dutch engineer Arjen Hoekstra, a pair of jeans requires about 2,600 gallons of fresh water in its production. An 18' above-ground swimming pool filled to about 4 1/2 feet contains about 8,200 gallons of water. So there you go.

Hoekstra calls this "virtual water" and though there have been other water footprint calculators, this is the first system to account for the "embodied water" of a specific product.

Some of his other, rather shocking findings...

  • A single computer requires 5,400 gallons
  • A single hamburger requires 625 gallons
  • A single cup of coffee requires 30 gallons (480 cups of water!)

Much of this virtual water is sourced in poor countries where famine and water shortages are common. So Hoekstra hopes that with increased awareness about the huge quantities of water embodied in products which we so often take for granted, consumers will adjust their behavior and consume less.

Read more on Spiegel Online.

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