Siemens, a producer of some of the world’s most innovative water saving technologies, knows a thing or two about water consumption.


When we think of our water footprint, most of us just consider direct usage: for example, the water we drink or use to take a shower. We rarely recognize indirect usage (the water used to produce, grow or manufacture the items we use).


Did you know that up to 70 percent of the world’s fresh water is used for agriculture? That means that everything we eat impacts the water supply. Interestingly, nearly every manufacturing process also uses water. So things like computers, cars, and pharmaceuticals all have an impact as well.


Here are 11 surprising facts you probably don’t know about water usage. Once you see these numbers, you may be inspired to make a few changes in your daily routine.


  1. It takes about 37 gallons of water to grow the coffee beans and process them to make one cup of coffee.
  2. More than 1,300 gallons is required to produce a 12 oz. steak.
  3. About 6,800 gallons of water is required to grow a day's food for a family of four.
  4. It takes 52 gallons of water to produce one glass of pasteurized milk. The ratio is 1,000:1 so to produce 1 gallon of milk in the fridge takes 1,000 gallons out in the fields.
  5. It takes more than 10 gallons of water to produce one slice of wheat bread. If you eat the bread with a slice of cheese then you add another 13 gallons.
  6. Using a low-flow faucet can save you 3.5 gallons per minute.
  7. Using a low-flow toilet can save nearly 5 gallons per flush.
  8. Brushing your teeth requires around 2 gallons of water. Shut off the water while you brush.
  9. A five-minute shower can use 25-50 gallons of water. A low-flow showerhead can help reduce water usage by about 40 percent.
  10. Fix your leaky faucet; left alone it can waste up to 100 gallons of water a day.
  11. An automatic dishwasher uses approximately 9 to 12 gallons of water while hand washing dishes can use up to 20 gallons.

So, 8 flushes in a low-flow toilet will save as much water as it takes to grow and process one cup of coffee. It might sound insignificant, but every drop counts. Simply being aware of how much water it takes to get food on your table helps elevate your understanding and appreciation of this resource. Sure, we all have to eat but, as you can see, simple measures can help counter the impact.


What will you do to help reduce your water consumption?

11 surprising facts that will change your water usage
Find out how much water it takes to produce your everyday grocery items and how much can be saved with a few minor tweaks in behavior.