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Durham University


Water Awareness

Water Awareness Week this year takes place from Monday 25th November until Sunday 1st December.

Freshwater is one of the Earth’s most valuable resources and one that we can often take for granted. Of all the Earth’s water, only 3% is freshwater, but less than 0.01% of this is available for use (the rest is locked in glaciers/ice caps). This freshwater, however, is essential for life – for food production, wildlife and habitats, cleaning, drinking… The Environment Agency has warned that England will face water shortages within 25 years if we do not take a more sustainable approach to water use.

All products – whether food, electronics, paper, packaging – have a water footprint: the water that is used to produce, transport and package the item. It is therefore important to not waste these items where possible. Transporting and cleaning water also uses energy, thus by saving water you are saving energy too!

This Water Awareness Week take a minute to identify how you can help reduce the water that you use around the University (and in your home) – every drop makes a difference.


Food and Water

Huge volumes of water are involved in producing the food we eat – on average the amount of water needed to produce food is about 1000 times the weight of the food itself.

Food type

Water used to produce it

One tomato

12 litres

One portion of rice

125 litres

One chicken breast

650 litres

One loaf of bread

1,200 litres (100 buckets!)

You can therefore help save water by supporting Love Food Hate Waste initiatives – this includes simple steps such as freezing leftovers when cooking for yourself, or not taking more food than you will eat when at a canteen.