NCWR

About NCWR

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

In a nutshell

In this activity we will find out about water footprint, virtual water and how we can save water in our homes and schools.

Our objectives

In this activity you will:

  • Make your own measurements and data collection.
  • Estimate how much water you consume everyday and how much you can save.
  • Identify behaviors that help to save water.

Things to use

A plastic bucket (or a bowl), a volumetric beaker (500mL or 1L), pens, calculator

Water-readings

Water (over) consumption

During the second half of the 20th century, water demand in the Mediterranean countries was doubled. This demand is expected to continue to increase in the future. Unfortunately, the mismanagement of water is evident at the household level as well.  Check the following data:

  • Though approx. 50L are enough to cover one’s daily water needs, some people use up to 300L a day!
  • Approximately, 30% of the daily household water demand is used in the toilet flushing!
  • Half a glass of water is enough to brush our teeth; when we let the tap running while brushing them we can waste up to 5L of water!
  • Typically, tourists use much more water than locals: for example, deluxe hotels of Malta and Greece consume more than 450L per guest per night!

Activity

Water footprint

Created in 2002 by Arjen Hoekstra, the water footprint is one of the “family” of environmental footprints that help us understand how our production and consumption choices are affecting natural resources. As population grows and the standard of living increases for many people, the water footprint tells us how much water is used each and every day in all our activities, such as for producing our food and to clothe us, and indicates the pressure we exert on our freshwater resources. What about you? How much water do you consume a day?

Visit this link to calculate the water that is consumed daily at your house (average). The results might surprise you!

The three water footprints:


Blue water footprint is water that has been sourced from surface or groundwater resources and is either evaporated, incorporated into a product or taken from one body of water and returned to another, or returned at a different time. Irrigated agriculture, industry and domestic water use can each have a blue water footprint.

Green water footprint is water from precipitation that is stored in the root zone of the soil and evaporated, transpired or incorporated by plants. It is particularly relevant for agricultural, horticultural and forestry products.

Grey water footprint is the amount of fresh water required to assimilate pollutants to meet specific water quality standards. The grey water footprint considers point-source pollution discharged to a freshwater resource directly through a pipe or indirectly through runoff or leaching from the soil, impervious surfaces, or other diffuse sources

Water-readings

The virtual water

It may not be visible, but millions of liters of water go into making the products we buy, use and throw away.  Manufacturing everyday materials like paper, plastic, metal and fabric takes quite lot of water. Knowing these amounts of water needed to produce the goods we all use is an important first step towards using water wisely. Actually water is needed to make almost all products we use every day. For instance,  our diet makes up at least two-thirds of our total water footprint. This is primarily due to the large amounts of water needed to grow and produce the food.

This hidden flow of water, the so-called “virtual water” is required for almost every step in the production processes for many different raw materials and finished products.

The  of a product is calculated by adding up all of the water required for each step of the production process.

For example, the global average water footprint of wheat is 1827L for 1 kg. About 80% of this amount is allocated to the flour that is derived from the wheat; the rest goes to wheat pellets, the by-product. One 1kg of wheat gives about 790gr of flour, so that the water footprint of wheat flour is about 1850L/kg. 1kg flour gives about 1.15 kg bread, so that the water footprint of bread is 1608L/kg. This is a global average; the precise water footprint of bread depends on the origin of the wheat, on where and how it was grown.

Group activity

Measuring our water footprint


  1. Wash your hands twice:
    • 1st time: let  the water running
    • 2nd time: turn  the tap off while washing.
    • Each time collect the water used () in the bucket and calculate it. Note it on the worksheet.
    • What was the amount of water saved in the second time?
  2. How much water can you save in a day, for an average of washing hands three times a day?
    • How much water can be saved in a year by your family, this way?
    • Complete the worksheet.
  3. With the help of your parents check the last year’s water bills to calculate the average quantity of water consumed at home.
  4. Inform  your family about your results. Persuade them to consume water more wisely e.g.  for a year. Find out here and here some water saving ideas and make your “family” pledge on water saving.
  5. At the end of the year compare the amount of water consumed with the one of the previous year using the water bills. How much water was saved?

Tip: During the year check regularly on pipes, taps or tanks in your home, the yard and balcony for any leakages or damages.

 

Water shares


Water meter

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Way forward

Surfing around the Internet

If you want to find out more about the water it takes to make the most commonly used products / virtual water visit this link.

Play this game to see how much water you can save by changing some of your habits.

Go back to the homepage!

The water basins

Water in the city

Desalination

Do you know about grey water?

Rainwater harvesting

Greywater recycling in practice

Wastewater treatment

The water cycle in a bowl!

Waterworks through time

Climate change challenges

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

Water resources

Where do I begin?

The water basins

In this activity we learn what a water drainage basin is and why it is important for the experts to study it.

Continue!

Water in the city

What is the "urban water cycle"? Which are the important aspects of water management within a city environment?

Continue!

Desalination

Let's find out how sea and brackish water can become a freshwater resource!

Continue!

Do you know about grey water?

Let's find out what "greywater” is and how we can use it!

Continue!

Rainwater harvesting

Can do we collect rainwater? And how do we use it? Let's find out!

Continue!

Greywater recycling in practice

How a grewywater system is installed? Let's find out!

Continue!

Wastewater treatment

In this activity we learn about how wastewater is treated and what we can do with the treated water.

Continue!

The water cycle in a bowl!

Let's travel within the water cycle!

Continue!

Waterworks through time

Let's discover the story behind the historic fountains, cisterns and aqueducts of our town!

Continue!

Climate change challenges

Time to discuss about climate change, causes and impact and how we can cope with it.

Continue!

Rainwater Harvesting Systems in practice

What are the various types of rainwater harvesting systems? Let's find out more about them!

Continue!

Reduce-Reuse-Recycle

What is my water footprint and how can I reduce it?

Continue!

Water resources

Discovering the water resources of our region.

Continue!

Where do I begin?

Let's see why it is important to know about water in our region.

Continue!