all STORIES How the United States indirectly wastes enough water for 1 billion people each year

How the United States indirectly wastes enough water for 1 billion people each year

Patrick Flynn, Co-Founder, Hazel Technologies
February 25, 2016 4:35 pm CST

When produce is wasted, the water used to cultivate and harvest the produce is lost as well.

According to studies done by the Economics Research Service and the U.S.D.A. over 80% of the United States water supply is used for agricultural cultivation, a large majority of which is produce.

So how much water exactly is required to grow, say, one pound of Avocados?

According to one study from 2010, it takes nearly eighty gallons to grow a single pound of avocados.

How thirsty are these fruits and Veggies

Not far a long behind are peaches (42.1 gallons per pound), and even oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, and lettuce have staggeringly high irrigation requirements.

To put these requirements and high usage into perspective, a human being, according to the rain harvesting company Every Little Drop, needs at least 20 liters of water per day for basic drinking, sanitation, and use.

Doing some basic math:

1 Gallon = Approximately 4 liters (3.78 to be exact)

1 pound of avocado = 4*74= 296 liters = about enough water for one human being to survive for well over 2 weeks (15 days).

1 pound of peaches = 4*42 = 166 liters = enough water for one human being to survive for well over a week (8 days).

In fact, if we were to combine the water requirements for exactly one pound of avocados, peaches, oranges, tomatoes, strawberries, and lettuce (exactly 6 pounds of produce), we would need 154.5 gallons of water.

154.4 gallons of water = approximately 618 liters of water = enough water to provide for the basic needs of one human being for one month (30.9 days).

So, growing 6 pounds of produce uses up an entire month's water requirements for one person to survive.

Now consider the fact that in the United States alone, over 6 billion pounds of produce are wasted every year.

This means that enough water is wasted per year (indirectly through produce waste) to provide 1 billion people with sufficient drinking and general use water for 1 month.

At Hazel Technologies, we are working to reduce this level of produce waste so that the water used to cultivate produce is not wasted to such a degree.



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