If you’ve ever been to the western United Sates, you have seen firsthand land affected by droughts. The need for water in this area becomes more and more severe each year. Rivers, reservoirs, and lakes once overflowing have now shrunk or disappeared completely. This problem, however, is far from a national one. All over the world, countries such as China and Spain are also seeing a decrease in their water supplies. For an ever expanding global population, an insufficient water supply is a terrible concern for the future.
According to The Economist, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) reported in 2008 that as the population continues to grow, our planet will need approximately 2,000 cubic kilometres a year by 2030. For California, 58% of the state is now ranked in the worst category for water shortage, called the “exceptional drought” stage, as stated by NBC News on July 31st. This crisis has pushed the government to fine any businesses or residences who overuse water. Every citizen is being reminded to recycle and preserve water by doing little things throughout the day such as taking shorter showers, refraining from running the tap, and forgoing washing cars. NBC News reports, “residents caught hosing sidewalks or driveways or excessively watering their lawns can now be slapped with a $500 fine.”
While it’s important to save water through small, daily measures, one of the most effective ways to save water is to reduce the amount used to produce food. Not very many people know that it takes much more water to produce meat than to grow grains. Beef in particular causes more waste and water use than the production of any other meat. Cows drink vast amounts of water per day, plus a lot of water is used to grow the grain to feed livestock. David Pimentel, professor of Ecology at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was told the Cornell Chronicle, “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.”
In order to really understand the impact of a vegan diet, The Guardian presented this statistic: ” To produce 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water whereas to produce 1kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 litres of water.” If everyone cut out meat from their diet, the amount of water spent would be reduced dramatically.
Instead of shorter showers, what the state government should be encouraging for their citizens is to switch their hotdogs and hamburgers for quinoa and spinach. Go vegan, and preserve our planet’s water supply!