According to their research, more than 9 billion cubic meters of water are used around the world each year. The countries with the greatest annual consumption of water are:
- China, 1,207 billion cubic meters
- India, 1,182 billion cubic meters
- U.S., 1,053 billion cubic meters.
“After the U.S., the amount of water consumed per country drops significantly,” says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., makers of no-flush urinals and other restroom products.
“For instance, Brazil, which is next on the list, uses less than half of what is consumed in the U.S.”
However, the study shows the amount of water consumed on a per capita (per person) basis can vary significantly. Even though it is number three on the top ten list, the U.S. has the highest per capita water footprint at 2,842 cubic meters per person.
This amount consumed per person can depend greatly on a country’s eating habits. For instance, the U.S. is considered to be a big consumer of meat. And, significant amounts of water are used to raise cattle and process meat.
In contrast, in India few people consume meat. As a result, the country’s per capita consumption of water is less than 1,400 cubic meters per year, essentially half of what is consumed in the U.S.
“Right now, the U.S. is actually a net exporter of water,” says Reichardt. “We export water in the form of food and products. However, this may change as we and other countries grapple with water shortages and the rising cost of water.”