Switzerland, also known as the “water tower of Europe”, has an abundance of water sources. Yet the world’s fresh water supplies are limited, and Switzerland will probably face water shortages eventually.
According to the Swiss Gas and Water Industry Association (SVGW/SSIGE), daily consumption per inhabitant is 142L on average. 50% of this is used for showers, baths and toilets.
Livestock, for example, need to drink water and consume cereals and fodder; both of these need water to grow. It takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1 kg of beef, 3000 litres to grow 1 kg of rice and 55 litres for 1 kg of tomatoes.
NB: Every litre of water saved is a litre that is not going to pollute groundwater and does not need to be treated again.
These savings must be understood at a world scale. Most of the virtual water we consume locally pollutes other countries. This polluted water poisons both local populations and end consumers as it gets reintroduced into food production.
- Favour local and seasonal products, and reduce meat and dairy.
- Identify which products use a lot of water during production, and reduce your consumption of those (avocado for instance).
- Reduce the amount of pollution you are producing by selecting ecological and low water impact products.
- Pass on the information that you should not only save water locally but also in the area where products are manufactured. This is a global issue, we can not solve it if we don’t change the way we consume.
- Get informed about the “The responsible business initiative” (Swiss Coalition for Corporate Justice); ask your local politicians about their position on it.