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Water Footprint

Water Footprint Argumentative Essay

Worldwide as the population grows, so does our use of fresh water. Australian as high-income nation demonstrated the 12th largest water consumption rate in the world (WWF, 2016). Water footprint link two components, direct water use (e.g. Tap water), and indirect «virtual» water. In general, a water footprint is a measure of fresh water used in a production of goods and services. The water footprint is a process of measuring the appropriation of fresh water by the humanities regarding volume. It measures the water polluted or consumed. However, many Australians may not understand their water footprint use (WWF, 2016). The method should be developed to calculate and indicate «virtual» water consumption to change consumer awareness and behavior (Manson & Epps, 2014). There should be a labelling system presenting water footprint on consumer goods to increase awareness and to make informed decisions to meet criteria an individual sustainability. The essay will use available sources to argue future benefits of water footprint while presenting its importance in food labelling.

The indirect usage of water is more dominant than the direct usage of water. The indirect water is mainly linked to the water used in growing food, generating clothes and other stuff that people purchase. It is used more than the tap water. Each contributes to the consumption of large water quantities through using and buying products such as biofuel, paper, and growing of cotton used in the production of denim jeans among other things (Hoekstra, 2013). Water footprints provide a clear picture regarding the usage of water in the society. According to statistics, each consumer in the world consumes about 5,000 litres of water every day. Mainly it ranges from about 1,500 litres to 5, 000 litres depending on the area one lives in (Hoekstra, 2013). That is; everything used or consumed by any consumer has a water footprint. On the stipulation, the consumers understand the water footprint; it will be easier to ensure sufficient water to sustain all living things. Water is a finite resource, though it is renewable. The amount of water in the world today is equal to the amount that was available decades ago. However, due to the growth in population, the resource develops into a limited one, influencing the supply of the resource. Today, many consumers use more fresh water than the natural limits of the earth can sustain. Australia been one of the countries that uses this much water, the consumers need to know how to reduce the water footprint for the benefit of the future and the world.

To reduce the water footprint, the people of Australia should understand the footprint calculators to learn on how to measure their daily usage of water. It will also present how their usage of water affects their water footprint. Reducing water footprints can help improve the living conditions of people, animals, and the natural fauna that relies on water for sustainability while protecting plants, which provide food and other benefits. For instance, those who consume beef a lot, consume a water footprint of 200 grammes (Hoekstra A., 2013). The amount of water is equivalent to a 47 to 48-minute shower. Thus, in such a situation the consumers could reduce the water footprint by eating chicken instead of beef. The chicken consumes four times less water than that of beef. Thus, consuming more chicken instead of beef is a way that the people of Australia can use to reduce the water footprint. That is; the consumers need to choose to eat more food that consumes a less amount of water footprint.

Australian communities/ businesses can reduce the water footprint by producing products with a lower water footprint. More importantly, if the companies labelled the water footprint in their products, the consumers would be well-informed and would have the opportunity to make buying decisions while encouraging responsible water consumption (Kenward, 2010). Thus, I agree that the consumer package labelling ought to include the water footprint information for the consumers to make an informed decision on how to reduce their personal water footprints and engage in sustainable water consumption (WFN, 2016). Due to the growing population, water is developing into a scarce product. Unless consumers learn to reduce their water footprints, the world is headed to severe droughts, low supply of food and decline of food products because of lack of sufficient water to sustain the world. Other ways to reduce the water footprint for the Australians would include installation of toilets that save water and shower heads that save water. They can use less water in gardens and dispose of products such as paint or medicine using other means instead of water.

Labelling products on the water footprint consumed in the development of each product will increase the sustainable water footprint. Thus, it will encourage the consumers to reduce the consumption of water with the intention of maintaining the appropriate usage of water (Manson & Epps, 2014). Labelling water footprint on products will improve the incentives for consumers to reduce the water consumption. That is; through labelling the government will have a stronger position to impose taxes or import restrictions based on water footprint on each product. Law and trade will be imposed to ensure the protection of maintainable freshwater resources (Manson & Epps, 2014). Labelling of products will enhance the efficiency of water usage while addressing the regional and global imbalances in water availability. The process assists in handling the scarcity of water that is developing into a pressing issue in the world today (Segal & MacMillan, 2009). The government and the law ought to encourage increased transparency to improve the usage of freshwater directly and indirectly. Labelling would increase the purchasing of products with a lower water footprint and governmental policies to control the usage of water.

Water footprint product labelling provides information on how the decisions of the consumers affect the environment. Most of the water that consumers use is embedded in the products they purchase instead of the direct consumption of water. On the stipulation that consumers were informed on the water used in the development of the products, they would make informed purchasing decision. That is; they would use products that consume more water less and use more of the products with lower water footprints (McLaren, 2008). Therefore, food labelling should include water footprints to ensure that the consumers, mainly in Australia make informed decisions. Labelling water footprint of products will increase the environmental sustainability through improved consumption of water in the world. Water footprints will assist the consumers and households in Australia to preserve water. More importantly, the application of labelling water footprint of products will assist in evaluating the environmental performance.

Labelling of food products on water footprint should be considered as a corporate social responsibility for businesses. Once businesses reduce their water footprint as an environmental strategy, the environmental awareness of reducing it increases the conservation of water in the society. Businesses face risks linked to a freshwater shortage that affects their operations and leads to a deficiency of supply (Ercin & Hoekstra, 2012). Therefore, regulations should protect the sources of water, and its scarcities by demanding companies to stipulate the water footprint of all products they develop. Governments should engage in regulatory control to reinforce and strengthen the usage of water footprint labelling on products. In Australia, the Murray-Darling basin faces a water scarcity (Hoekstra A., 2013). The water is used in food production mainly, where if the people of Australia do not reduce their water footprints, they will face droughts and other scarce related issues. Consumers in Australia must reduce their water footprint, through the governmental laws and direct usage of water, and through increased water footprint labelling of products.


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Hoekstra, A. (2013, 2 21). The Broker Connecting World of Knowledge. Retrieved from The Water Footprint: Water in Supply Chain: http://www.thebrokeronline.eu/Blogs/Prioritising-Water/The-water-footprint-water-in-the-supply-chain

Hoekstra, Y. A. (2013). The Water Footprint of Modern Consumer Society. London: Routledge.

Kenward, A. (2010). Awash in Awareness: Knowing a Product’s «Water Footprint» May Help Consumers Conserve H2O. Scientific American, 1-1. Retrieved from http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/water-footprint/

Manson, L., & Epps, T. (2014). Water Footprint Labelling and WTO Rules. Rev Euro Comp & Int Env Law, 329-341.

McLaren, W. (2008, 4 22). TreeHugger. Retrieved from Should Food Labelling Show Water Footprint?: http://www.treehugger.com/clean-water/should-food-labelling-show-water-footprint.html

Segal, R., & MacMillan, T. (2009). Sustain the alliance for better food and farming: Water Labels on Food; Issues and Recommendations. Food Ethics council, 1-15.

WFN. (2016). Water Footprint Network. Retrieved from Personal Water Footprint: http://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/personal-water-footprint/

WWF. (2016). Water Footprint — How People Use Fresh Water. Retrieved from http://www.wwf.org.au/our_work/people_and_the_environment/human_footprint/water_footprint/