Water footprint

This is the latest thing we have to worry about apparently. Our water footprint.

Me, I\’m calling this one as bollocks. Why you might ask, why is Timmy simply snarling at the nice man instead of engaging with his arguments? Well, the nice man has form:

Prof Lang, who coined the term "food miles" more than a decade ago, now believes that overuse of water is the biggest threat facing Britain\’s food chain.

We know that food miles is bollocks…shipping lamb from New Zealand uses fewer resources than growing it in Wales, tomatoes from Spain fewer than growing them here.

The liklihood that our water footprint is similarly bollocks is high.

"Huge amounts of water is being used as irrigation or fed directly to animals. It is a nightmare. Water stress is huge across huge swathes of the globe.

"We think that we are liberally supplied by God\’s water. But that\’s not true."

According to the World Wide Fund, the production of a simple pint of milk uses up more than 550 litres (968 pints) of water – the equivalent of running six full baths.

A cut of coffee uses up 140 litres (246 pints), while a hamburger uses an astonishing 1,800 (3,168).

These figures take into account the amount of water used from the start to the end of the food chain, including the irrigation on the farm, the processing of the food, such as washing the coffee beans, and the cooking of the product. Meat uses so much because of the water needed to irrigate the crops that end up as animal feed.

"We cannot carry on consuming the same amount of meat and dairy that we do currently. We are convinced about that now. It is absolutely madness."

That "irrigation" on the farm. That, umm, includes the rain that falls from God\’s skies. The rain that Ireland gets (and oh boy does Ireland get rain) to grow the grass upon which the cow to make the hamburger feeds. The rain that falls upon the coffee bushes (no, no one "irrigates" coffee bushes).

Essentially the nice professor is complaining about trade. That things are being grown where there is a comparative advantage, in this case lots of water, and shipped to places with other comparative advantages.

Just like food miles was a complaint about trade actually.

So bollocks to both ideas.

 

8 comments on “Water footprint

  1. The good professor also seems to assume that the water is destroyed in the process- whereas it is all naturally recycled.

  2. So let me get this right…

    Those of us who live in areas where there water is in plentiful supply are to refrain from making use of it so that, er, it can flow down rivers into the sea, whereas if we used it, it would, er, flow down rivers into the sea tomorrow.

    That way, people in areas where there isn’t very much would, er, get no benefit whatever, and would also be deprived of the products that re made using plenty of water.

    That’s the argument, no?

  3. I can only agree with Brian and Pat, the points are two:
    1) water is used not consumed, as long as we return it back to nature (or use it elsewhere) clean then there is no problem. 2) water shortage is a local problem, not a global one.

  4. Even the greentards know the answer to this one. When plastics are recycled and when glass is (euphemistically) recycled, the products are washed in water and that water is itself recycled. Because clean water has inherent value and is a business cost. It is also a cost to farmers who use fancy irrigation schemes to minimise their use of water.

    Prof Lang may have a point that some current water users (eg Spanish veg horticulturalists) will have to change their business, but he fails to explain it.

  5. Perhaps Prof. lang should put some more water in his morning porridge (or even “high water” milk) . It seems that dehydration may be affecting his judgement.

    Why is it I wonder, that a significant amount of milk is produced in the nice wet and green British isles and not in the Sahara?

    Anyone want to work out how much water is used to produce our metal imports?

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