Learn about Water

Water worldwide

Polluted, wasted and overexploited, water is considered as an unlimited resource. Yet 1.1 billion people have no access to safe water and 2.6 billion people does not get basic sanitation. Valuable, this resource is also unequally distributed.

Today, more than a third of humanity (over 2 billion people) survives with less than 5 liters of water per day, less than 1700 m3 per year. This is called "water stress ". In 2010, the UN, UNICEF and WHO emphasized that nearly 800 million people remained without access to safe drinking water worldwide.

But the worst is yet to come: now estimated at 6.6 billion, world population is growing by 80 million each year. The demand for freshwater is expected to increase also by about 64 billion cubic meters a year. This data has to be added to global warming and pressure on groundwater, lakes and rivers.

The lack of water is responsible for 7 seven deaths every minute or 3.6 million people per year !

Even if the UN Millennium Goals dealing with access to drinking water have been met or exceeded, it is not a measure of water quality. Quantity only. Between 3 and 4 billion people lack access to sustainable water, whose quality is constantly questioned. It is therefore difficult to speak of drinking water. In addition, pollution from industry and consumerism keep deteriorating every day the last water sources available.

Rural areas are increasingly affected:

97% of people have not access to safe drinking water daily in Asia and South America

14% of people drink water from rivers and lakes, shared with animals


Water and agriculture

70% of water is consumed by agriculture in the world. But water is not only the one the in the glass. It is also the one we eat in our foods.

This table sheet should help us to realize the dimension that water takes every day in our food.

FoodQuantityWater equivalent
Banana 1 kg 346 liters
Beef 1 kg 13 500 liters
Chicken 1 kg 3 900 liters
Coffee 1 cup 140 liters
Cotton 1 kg 5 263 liters
Corn 1 kg 454 liters
Lemon 1 kg 1 000 liters
Milk 1 liter 790 liters
Mineral Water 1 liter 9 liters
Potatoe 1 kg 590 liters
Rice 1 kg 1 400 liters
Sheep 1 kg 5 000 liters
Wheat 1 kg 6 000 liters

Water and the daily actions

Water is a precious resource. Simple daily actions can however contribute to its preservation:

Drink tap water prevents from mineral water bottles transportation and plastic waste.

Do not run water unnecessarily : you will be able to save (in the shower, for dishes ...). For example, turn off the water for three minutes when you brush your teeth can save a few tens of liters of water!

Choose systems with two toilets flush flows : also called “two tanks-flushing”, it reduces the volume of water used by 15 liters per day for a house of two people. And if you do not, you simply place a water bottle full of sand in the tank to flush your toilet, so less water will be wasted. 

A conventional flush uses between 6 and 12 liters of water. A dual one : between 3-6 liters.

Check that no tap leaks : a dripping can spend more than 4000 liters of water per year. So take time to repair taps and leaky toilets flushing: 10 liters per day for a tap of 500 liters per day!

Take showers : the shower is more toned and hygienic than baths. It consumes 50 to 80 liters of water against 150 to 300 liters for a bath.

Stop the water while you soap, wash your teeth or shaving.

Equip your taps flow reducers : mixers and aerators significantly limit your water consumption: up to 70%! Called mixer, aerator, aerator or saver, this device is easily placed out of your taps. Its role is to decrease the flow of water flowing by dispersing the flow. It is not harmful at all to use running water (shower, dishwasher ...).

Think of recovering water : part of the water you use and which is not contaminated with chemicals may be used for other purposes. For example, when you wait for hot water from the tap, take the opportunity to recover the still cold water for watering your plants then. Similarly, if you use tap water at the table, any surplus after a meal can be used to water plants or fill the sink for washing.