5 ways you waste your water without being aware of it

Your real water consumption is not just how much water you drink and run from the tap.

For many it is quite common to stop water during tooth brushing. Some of us surely remember this familiar technique of water saving taught by our mothers. Did you know, however, that despite your efforts to save, large quantities of virtual water a day is still beeing consumed?

Virtual water is the type of water used in different stages of the production of any product and service intended for the final consumer. These include, for example, food, clothing, tools, electronics, transport or watching TV.

Application virtual waterTo find out how much virtual water you spend each day there is an app called Virtual Water.

Take a look at five examples of how you waste your virtual water without knowing it:

1. When you buy new clothes

The production of one pair of jeans "swells" in the conversion of 8,000 liters of water, one cotton shirt 2700 liters. The same amount of water would quench thirst of up to 900 people. Unbelievable, isn´t it?

According to the American Geophysical Institute consumption of water in the production of daily use products cotton growing and dyeing is in the 4th place. In the rankings it was just growing coffee, cocoa(chocolate production) and producuction of beef demanded more water.

waste-water-dye-cinaIn China, wastewater from clothes dyeing contributes with 20% of total country pollution.

The chemicals used in cotton dyeing are very difficult to remove from the water. Gradually, however, there is a renaissance in the apparel industry. Examples are brands such as H&M or Levi's, who often use 100% recycled water when making new clothing.

Purchase of apparel

If you are already buying twelfth T-shirt this season try to think about these facts and put things in the basket with the "conscious" label which you can also find in H&M stores.

2. When you forget to turn off your bathroom´s light

Do others have to turn the lights off because you forgot to do so? Know that your consumption of virtual water increases many times doing this.

Lights on

You also consume water when you watch your favourite Netflix series or search your fridge for something to eat. Strange?

Not very much if you realize that electricity is produced by combustion of coal or gas that is extracted from the earth in a way that uses water to a large extent.

Light in refrigerators

In addition, electricity generating reactors must be regularly cooled to prevent damage. In the USA, up to 40% of total drinking water is consumed by this activity.

3. When you go for a beer with your friends

Perhaps you already know that making one liter of beer costs breweries up to 60 liters of water. The negative impact on sinking global water supplies is therefore being addressed by the use of recycled water.

Wasting water in breweries

Breweries innovate their production technology, in particular by setting up better quality wastewater treatment plants which, under certain conditions, can save up to 90% of their total water costs.

4. When you shop online

The main problem of online purchases is their packaging. According to statistics in the United States alone shipping packaging is responsible for around 30% of the total annual waste of the country.


For the production of the packaging, add the consumed electricity when ordering through the computer, packing the product, sending and shipping. In addition, fuel is spent using ship or air transport.

Didn´t your product fit you or have you changed your mind? You can then send it back to the manufacturer for free, while repeating the process for second time.

Online purchases

The above mentioned actions, however, are those of high level of use of virtual water. Next time think of it, if you will be tempted to get online discounts on the Chinese online shop.

5. When you read a book

Considering that the average consumption of the book industry is 125 million trees per year, this is not surprising.

book reading

Even you are not sure which option among e-books and classic books is more water consuming?

The production, storage and logistics of classic paper books calls for considerable use of water. On the other hand, it is the production, distribution and use of the electronic one.

Book or e-book

The classic e-book annually "saves" up to 22.5 paper books. The survey says that it must be used for more than 5 years to become more environmentally friendly than a paper book. That's why buying the eBook is better in the long run.

Saving with an eBook

In our article we have just mentioned 5 examples of excessive use of virtual water. If you care about it as much as we do, think of its consumption when doing each and every of your activities.

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