Are you watching your “water footprint?”

The era of cheap water, experts say, is coming to an end

It takes 850 litres of fresh water to produce a single glass of orange juice; a hamburger, for its part, needs up to 2,400 litres. Thanks to a swollen global population, changed diets—particularly in the developing world—and our ever increasing “water footprint,” the era of cheap water could be coming to an end, says the Pacific Institute in California. Its warning comes as ecologists have begun speaking of “peak water”—the point where there just isn’t enough of the wet stuff to go around. A necessary first step to tackling the crisis—and decreasing the risk of violent conflict over the resource in West Africa and South Asia—is to increase public knowledge of the water that goes into the making of foodstuff—like OJ.

The Times Online