[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 31-Mar-2010
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-6042
American Chemical Society

American industry's thirst for water: First study of its kind in 30 years

How many gallons of water does it take to produce $1 worth of sugar, dog and cat food, or milk? The answers appear in the first comprehensive study in 30 years documenting American industry's thirst for this precious resource. The study, which could lead to better ways to conserve water, is in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology, a semi-monthly journal.

Chris Hendrickson and colleagues note in the new study that industry (including agriculture) long has been recognized as the biggest consumer of water in the United States. However, estimates of water consumption on an industry-by-industry basis are incomplete and outdated, with the last figures from the U.S. Census Bureau dating to 1982.

They estimated water use among more than 400 industry sectors from finished products to services using a special computer model. The new data shows that most water use by industry occurs indirectly as a result of processing, such as packaging and shipping food crops to the supermarket, rather than direct use, such as watering crops. Among the findings for consumer products: It takes almost 270 gallons of water to produce $1 worth of sugar; 200 gallons of water to make $1 worth of dog and cat food; and 140 gallons of water to make $1 worth of milk. "The study gives a way to look at how we might use water more efficiently and allows us to hone in on the sectors that use the most water so we can start generating ideas and technologies for better management," the scientists note.

###

ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
"Direct and Indirect Water Withdrawals for U.S. Industrial Sectors"

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT ARTICLE
http://pubs.acs.org/stoken/presspac/presspac/full/10.1021/es903147k

CONTACT:
Chris Hendrickson, Ph.D.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Green Design Institute
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, Penn.
Phone: 412-268-1066
Fax: 412-268-7813
Email: cth@cmu.edu



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.