Articles

News briefs and articles about water footprints, water use and availability, as well as interviews with key people in the fields of water footprints and water use.

For California Drought, Past is Key to Understanding the Future

March 13, 2014

While California is the agricultural hub of the United States, limited rainfall causes a California drought and makes farming tricky. While forecasting future rainfall is a shaky business, a turn towards California’s hydrological history might be useful to understand the possible climate and water availability scenarios the state might encounter. Hydrological History Sheds Light on […]

Everything You Know About Water Conservation is Probably Wrong…

March 10, 2014

You might be surprised by how much water you use around your house. Most people underestimate which of their daily activities affects their water footprint the most. Do you know a lot about water use? Let’s find out. 1. Which of these actions saves the most water in a day? Taking shorter showers. Using low-flow […]

Save Fisheries, Save Water

February 18, 2014

Saltwater fish production can help to meet the increasing protein demands of a growing population. But can it do so without substantially increasing the water footprint of humanity? Saltwater Fish Production Requires No Water  Whoever thought that eating saltwater fish could help protect freshwater? Unlike land-based sources of protein including meat and dairy, saltwater fish […]

Fracking’s Water Footprint in Marcellus Shale Larger Than Previously Thought

December 9, 2013

A report on the water consumption of hydraulic fracking operations in the Marcellus Shale found that if shale-gas production increases rapidly enough in the Marcellus Shale, despite the increase in water use efficiency and wastewater recycling, the sheer volume of wastewater could become problematic.  Fracking Has Considerable Impact on Freshwater Supplies in the Marcellus Shale […]

Rethinking the Big Mac? Environmental Limits to Meat Production

October 31, 2013

Trends point toward a crowded planet as the population soars from seven to ten billion by 2050.  Will the current industrialized meat production system meet growing future demand and feed the world? The resource intensity of meat production can’t be ignored as neighbors in developing countries emulate the meat-heavy Western diet. This is the third of three […]

Why Meat Eats Resources

October 29, 2013

The large water footprints for beef, pork and other meats indicate the large volumes of water used for their production. They also suggest a great use of resources beyond water. The question then becomes, why is raising livestock and poultry for meat so resource-intensive? This is the second of three posts about the possible limits […]

Water Hogs: Smithfield Pork Deal Trades US Water for Waste

October 28, 2013

It turns out the monumental merger between two giant pork producers, Smithfield and Shaunghui (now WH Group), was a foregone conclusion. One big question lingers: Was the deal a trade of water for waste? This is the first of three posts about the possible limits to global meat production as resources are strained by growing […]

How Not to Dispose of Your Unused Pharmaceuticals

October 26, 2013

Pharmaceuticals, personal care products and a whole host of other compounds — classified as ‘emerging contaminants,’  — are increasingly being detected in surface water and they’re causing problems. Emerging Contaminants Found in Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products Require Careful Disposal Recently, I was filling a prescription at a local pharmacy and I brought some unused prescription drugs […]

US Water Conservation: How’s Your State Doing?

June 20, 2013

Many states have laws and policies that make water conservation plans more or less effective. How’s your state doing? Find out in this Alliance for Water Efficiency report. State Water Conservation Policies Can Help or Hinder Water Conservation Efforts When you think about water conservation, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s low-flow toilets or xeriscaping? […]