Here we go with the 7 ton T-bone again. 7,000 liters of water (7mt) in that steak, 5,000 pound burgers and 140 liters (37 gal.) of water in a cup of coffee (talk about bottomless cups!)
Paradoxically, the water we “eat” is likely to become one of the growing new dangers to millions of the world’s thirsty, hungering for this finite natural resource.
“More than one-fourth of all the water we use worldwide is taken to grow over one billion tons of food that nobody eats,” Torgny Holmgren, executive director of the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), told delegates during the opening of the annual international water conference, World Water Week, in the Swedish capital Monday.
“That water, together with the billions of dollars spent to grow, ship, package and purchase the food, is sent down the drain,” he said.
“And reducing the waste of food is the smartest and most direct route to relieve pressure on water and land resources. It’s an opportunity we cannot afford to overlook,” he added.
The conference, one of the world’s largest single gathering of experts on water and sanitation, has drawn more than 2,000 delegates, including senior U.N. officials, scientists, academics, water activists and representatives of the business community, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media, from over 100 countries.
Since everything humans eat requires water to be produced, the paradox of the water we “eat” was best illustrated by an exhibition in the conference lobby, which pointed out that the production of an average hamburger – two slices of bread, beef, tomato, lettuce, onions and cheese – consumes about 2,389 litres of water, compared to 140 litres for a cup of coffee and 135 for a single egg.
An average meal of rice, beef and vegetables requires about 4,230 litres of water while a chunky, succulent beef steak, a staple among the rich in the world’s industrial countries, consumes one of the largest quantum of water: about 7,000 litres.