Water for Food, Water for Life: What is Your WATER Footprint?

Apr. 09, 2011

Posted by Yiting Wang under Events
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In her fascinating talk on Thursday night, April 7th, Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project, said the answer was yes, but only with a transformation in how we use, manage, and value fresh water. From the story of the dried-up Aral Sea,to the tremendous use of water in agriculture, Postel started the talk with a reasonably "anguish" question -- can we meet the food and water demands of eight billion people while at the same time protecting the aquatic ecosystems that sustain our economies and the planet’s web of life? 

Postel  discussed several new strategies to deal with these issues, such as the establishment of “sustainability boundaries” and "payment to ecosystem services" to preserve ecological health and the deployment of technologies and practices to double water productivity, among others. In addressing the audience, she also encouraged ways in which individuals can be part of the solution. Here the National Geographic's Fresh Water Project developed a water footprint calculator to help gauge an individual's personal water usage and suggest ways to improve it.

"Know this: The average American lifestyle is kept afloat by nearly 2,000 gallons of H2O a day—twice the global average."

"The bright side: By pledging to cut your water footprint, you can help return more water to rivers, lakes, wetlands, underground aquifers, and freshwater species."

Ready? Click here to do a fun and animated calculation!

water footprint

Pictures from Poster's talk

Missed the talk? Video clipping from Postel's talk

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