Water as a limited resource is not something we have to think about in our day-to-day life, but with droughts occurring with growing frequency and intensity it is something we are being forced to consider more and more often. The act of growing food is a water intensive project, however some foods are more water intensive than others.
In order to encourage consciousness of how one’s eating habits impact the environment we calculated the water foot print of a few meals from the dining hall. Meals with meat required far more water than meals with out meat. Dairy ingredients also tended to have a disproportionately large foot print when compared to other ingredients.
While protein is an important part of a diet, meat is not the only way to consume protein. But you don’t have to turn Vegetarian to significantly reduce your water foot print. Consider meatless Mondays, or double check you aren’t eating too much meat; many people eat more meat daily than what they need for protein.
Interested in learning how to calculate your own water footprint? Check out our article where we break down calculating the C02 and water footprint for some of UMD’s dining meals.