In this groundbreaking book, veteran science correspondent Fred Pearce travels to more than thirty countries to examine the current state of crucial water sources. Deftly weaving together the complicated scientific, economic, and historic dimensions of the world water crisis, he provides our most complete portrait yet of this growing danger and its ramifications for us all.
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|Title of eBook: When the Rivers Run Dry|
|Release Date: 03-09-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Beacon Press|
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|Parent title||When the Rivers Run...|
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When the Rivers Run Dry
Chapter OneThe Human Sponge
Few of us realize how much water it takes to get us through the day. On average, we drink no more than a gallon and a half of the stuff. Including water for washing and for flushing the toilet, we use only about 40 gallons each. In some countries suburban lawn sprinklers, swimming pools, and sundry outdoor uses can double that figure. Typical per capita water use in suburban Australia is about 90 gallons, and in the United States around 100 gallons. There are exceptions, though. One suburban household in Orange County, Florida, was billed for 4.1 million gallons in a single year, or more than 10,400 gallons a day. Nobody knows how they got through that much.
We can all save water in the home. But as laudable as it is to take a shower rather than a bath and turn off the faucet while brushing our teeth, we shouldn't get hold of the idea that regular domestic water use is what is really emptying the world's rivers. Manufacturing the goods that we fill our homes with consumes a certain amount, but that's not the real story either. It is only when we add in the water needed to grow what we eat and drink that the numbers really begin to soar.
Get your head around a few of these numbers, if you can. They are mind-boggling. It takes between 250 and 650 gallons of water to grow a pound of rice. That is more water than many households use in a week. For just a bag of rice. Keep going. It takes 130 gallons to grow a pound of wheat and 65 gallons for a pound of potatoes. And when you start feeding grain to livestock for animal products such as meat and milk, the numbers become yet mo...