To raise awareness about how people in the United States use water throughout their day, GRACE Communications Foundation (GRACE) – a non-profit dedicated to creating a more sustainable food system – developed its Water Footprint Calculator. The free tool illustrates how everyday actions – from washing dishes to watering the lawn to buying groceries – impact water use.
Our virtual water use – the water it takes to grow our food, make electricity and manufacture home goods – is by far the biggest part of our water footprint, and, as users quickly find out, our diet accounts for most of it. To learn more about how the food we eat affects water, the environment, animals and people, check out FoodPrint, where you’ll find plenty of useful information that will help you reduce your impact.
The daily choices we make to waste less water today, whether directly through the tap or virtually through our food, energy and shopping habits, can help us make sure that there’s enough for all of us now and in the future.
How the Water Footprint Calculator Works
Through a series of simple questions about daily routines, this innovative and engaging calculator accounts for not only the water we use from the tap, but also the water it takes to produce the food we eat, the energy we use and the products we buy. Created with a dynamic and adaptive interface, the calculator functions seamlessly on mobile, tablets and desktop computers. Other features include customized results, interactive graphics and the ability for users to change their answers and “play” with their results.
As part of the package, links to over 100 water-saving tips are offered to help users lower their water footprint. (One of the best ways to shrink your water footprint: Eat less meat and choose pasture-raised meat to support farmers who don’t rely largely on feed grains irrigated with limited groundwater or surface water supplies.)
Technical questions about the calculator can be answered in this in-depth methodology.
Our promotional page contains links to information about the calculator and its methodology, our logo and downloadable materials.
Who is Using the Water Footprint Calculator
Nationwide, almost 1.5 million visitors have gotten their water footprint. Students and educators at the middle school, high school and university levels have all taken advantage of the tool. In addition, many municipalities and organizations use the calculator as a resource to promote awareness of water use.
Here are just some of the organizations that use the Water Footprint Calculator tool and website to help people understand and reduce their water use:
- The PBS series H2O: The Molecule That Made Us
- The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) Climate Education Module
- The Project Green Challenge annual international student challenge
- The Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation
- The LA Mayor’s Office Save the Drop LA water conservation campaign
- The Lego First League Competition Hydrodynamics Challenge in 2017
- The Hudson River Clearwater Sloop Organization Environmental Actions
Awards and Recognition
- 2020 Communicator Award of Excellence for Environmental Awareness Websites
- 2019 Webby Nomination for the Green Category
- 2017 Webby Nomination for the Green Category
- 2016 White House Water Summit recognition for launch of the Spanish water footprint calculator
- 2016 Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Environmental Champion Award
- 2015 Graphic Design USA’s American Graphic Design Award