The water footprint of humanity exceeds sustainable levels in various parts of the world
A growing population and higher income levels are increasing the demand of products that require more water in their production, such as meat, sugar and cotton. This leads to overexploitation of water resources and pollution of freshwater ecosystems, resulting in dry rivers and wetlands, aquifers with rising water levels and endangered freshwater species. Since 1970, the Living Planet Index of freshwater ecosystems have suffered a drop to 35%. This index measures changes in 2,750 populations of 714 species of fish, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals found in tropical and temperate ecosystems of fresh water.
How is Spain?
The average water footprint is 107.78 km3/year in Spain. Spain is the 25th country in the world ranking of total water footprinting, but the situation is aggravated by the stress that we put on our rivers and aquifers: we consume more water than is renewed annually. The effects are not noticeable in the short term, but we are mortgaging our future.
What can you do?
Everything we consume has required water at some stage of its production or use. Water is used not only for drinking or washing, it also is needed for agriculture, transport, electricity production and for leisure and culture. So a responsible consumption means less water footprints. For example, a lower consumption of meat and dairy products can help reduce our water footprint and carbon footprint on the planet.