Washington, March 9 (ANI): A new study has shown that consumer goods can take a large quantity of water to be made.
According to a report in Discovery News, the study, carried out by scientists at Carnegie Mellon University in the US, showed that industries use jaw-dropping amounts in the production of common products.
"I think what really comes out is that goods and services have quite a bit of embodied water in them, so the industry that is providing the final product does not realize how much water they're actually using in the products they're selling," said Chris Hendrickson, a civil and environmental engineering researcher at Carnegie Mellon.
Although industries typically report their direct water usage, more than one industry is involved in producing a single consumer good.
There's the paper business that makes the packaging, the agricultural firm that provides the ingredients and the power companies that supply the energy for all the processes, to name a few.
Hendrickson, together with his student Michael Blackhurst, calculated all water input used for these interrelated industries to shed light on the total amount of water that goes into the manufacturing of consumer products.
For example, the 1-dollar bag of refined sugar in many American kitchens requires more than 283 gallons of water to produce.
The 20-dollar bag of dog food on store shelves takes more than 4,000 gallons.
The study reflects a growing awareness of the consequences of unchecked water consumption.
In fact, a number of US cities, including Las Vegas and Atlanta, are experimenting with graduated rate systems for water and have implemented tighter restrictions on how water may be used.
The developing world is being hit the hardest as water supplies dry up due to poor allocation, misuse or climate change.
The United Nations estimates that one-quarter of the world's population, mostly among the poorest countries, won't have access to sanitary drinking water by 2025.
"We repeatedly engage in a frantic scramble to individually obtain as much as possible of depleting resources rather than cooperating in ways that could lead to sustainability for the community as a whole," said Julie Suhr Nelson, adjunct assistant professor of economics at the University of Utah.
As a result, when water becomes scarce, lawsuits and resource conflicts tend to break out over water allocations and rights. (ANI)