Water is a truly precious commodity. It is an absolute necessity for life on earth and it is by no means an infinite resource. Only a very small percentage of water is actually usable by humans. The vast majority of water is highly saline seawater that is relatively useless for feeding plants and people without desalination.
Water shortages regularly happen all over the globe, and scientists are predicting that climate change could mean that water shortages become even more common. UNICEF recently released a damning report detailing the ways in which climate change is affecting water supplies worldwide. Although some water wastage is domestic, the majority of discarded excess water is released into sewers and rivers by businesses. Here are the industries that are the biggest culprits in the world of water wastage.
Fruit And Vegetable Agriculture
Fruit and vegetable agriculture is a major water guzzler. Certain crops such as avocado and sugarcane need a huge amount of water to grow correctly. Cocoa is also very water hungry and is often grown in nations with extremely poor water supplies – leading to an increased chance of drought.
Some agricultural sectors are innovating in order to save water, using computer-controlled water distribution systems that do not saturate areas with water needlessly.
The manufacture of textiles and clothing is very water use intensive. All textiles are washed several times during the production process and the runoff water contains dyes and chemicals that essentially render it an environmental hazard.
In the past, textile factories would dump this poisonous waste water into rivers, which put biodiversity in danger and harmed people who depended upon rivers for drinking water in places such as India. This practice is now almost universally banned, but it undoubtably still occurs in some areas of the world. Buying secondhand clothing or swapping with friends is a quick and easy way to start reducing this waste.
Animals take a huge amount of water to feed. The slaughter of animals is also very water use intensive. Carcasses are cleaned using water that is then contaminated with blood and fecal matter and cannot be reused. 1KG of meat requires between 5000 and 20,000 liters of water to produce. Beef, Sheep and Pork are the industrially farmed animals that consume the largest amounts of water. It is also worth considering that animal feed is largely comprised of vegetables, which themselves require large amounts of water in order to grow.
It takes a great deal of water to manufacture a vehicle. Factories producing automobiles need to spray, wash, treat and chemically alter many portions of their product. All of these processes involve the use of water, and often produce a great deal of contaminated waste. It takes around 39,000 gallons of water to produce the average domestic vehicle, and far more to produce trucks, tanks and tractors.
Although the automotive industry is always looking for new ways to save resources during production, it remains an extremely wasteful field.