I think we probably have a good idea about how much water we are using in our homes because we most likely see the bill each month. I have offered many tips over the years on here for how you can reduce your water consumption at home. But what about your hidden water consumption? Water is in or used in the production of virtually everything we wear, eat and use. I mean think about it...what around you right now has not been touched by water? And exactly how much water do you think was used?
Lighting, computers, TV's, appliances, air conditioning all use water each time you use them. Hydroelectric power makes up 19% of the total world electricity production (with Canada being the 2nd largest producer and the US being 4th). But what about the other 81% of electricity produced? Did you know that even more water is involved in producing electricity from other sources?
And this is where the math comes in.....
Let's look at your lights and say that you have a 100w bulb in there. This is the number of litres of water it will take to power that light for 10 hours (which is 1 kwh) based on the different kinds of electricity generation.
Coal: 0.53 - 2.1
Solar Thermal: 2.97 - 3.5
Fossil Fuel Thermoelectric: 14.2 - 28.4
Nuclear: 31 - 74.9
Biodiesel: 180.9 - 969
If you know how your electricity is generated you can easily figure out how many litres of hidden water you use each month (the chart above is L of water/kwh of electricity used).
Do you have control over the type of electricity you use? Does this information make you want to change? Keep in mind there are other environmental impacts for each generation type and those obviously have a huge impact on the overall footprint of each option.
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