Water Use Impacts

Factory Farming and water use impacts

Water Use Impacts

  • Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of U.S. water consumption. (USDA Economic Research Service, 2013)
  • The meat and dairy industries combined use nearly 1/3 (29%) of all the fresh water in the world today. (Forks Over Knives, www.forksoverknives.com)
  • Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the U.S. (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006)
  • Animal agriculture use ranges from 34 – 76 trillion gallons of water annually. (BioScience, 54, 2004)
  • One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers. (Environmental Working Group, EWG)
  • 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. (Environmental Working Group, EWG)
  • 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of eggs. (Environmental Working Group, EWG)
  • 900 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of cheese. (Environmental Working Group, EWG)
  • Meat production demands more than 2,000 trillion tons of water every year (that’s 63 million liters a second). In less than 40 hours that’s enough to provide drinking water for every human on the earth for a year. (The World Counts)
  • One quarter of the global freshwater used worldwide is related to meat and dairy production. 43 times more irrigation water is used for grain-based animal feeds than pasture-based animal feeds. (CIWF.org, Report: Freshwater Use and Farm Animal Welfare)
  • Fresh water constitutes just 2.5% of all water on earth, and in many ways it is not fully renewable in our lifetime, nor infinite in quantity. Many aquifers are being drawn down at rates as high as 250 times their ability to recharge. Deep groundwater aquifers that took tens of thousands of years to form are rapidly being drained in many areas of the world, such as the North China Plain, the Ogallala in the High Plains of the U.S., the Columbia River Basin in Washington state, and California’s San Joaquin Valley. As much as 75% of the water withdrawals in these areas are given to livestock. (Forks Over Knives, www.forksoverknives.com)



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