11 June 2008

1 gallon of milk takes: (a) 2 gallons of water or (b) 2000 gallons of water?

New Scientist magazine had a great article in its Feb. 25 issue on "The Parched Planet," and the likelihood that ever heavier water use is pushing Earth toward famine.

The amount of water needed to produce various agricultural products:

Coffee, 2 lbs. -- 5,200 gallons
Quarter-pounder -- 2,900 gallons
Milk, 1 gallon -- 2,000 gallons
Cotton t-shirt -- 1,800 gallons
Cheese, 2 lbs. -- 1,300 gallons
Rice, 2 lbs. -- 1,300 gallons
Sugar, 2 lbs. -- 750 gallons
Wheat, 2 lbs. -- 250 gallons

Contrary info on some bullshit (hee hee) dairy funded site, moomilk.com:

qTo make a gallon of milk, a cow needs to drink how much water?

ATo make 9 gallons of milk a day, a cow must drink 18 gallons of fresh, clean water (2 gallons of water for every gallon of milk).

So which is it, 2
or 2000 gallons of water for 1 gallon of milk? I think I'll go with New Scientist over moomilk.com, but that's just me. And I'm a Jew, so I guess that means I might be the anti-Christ or something so I'm probably just tryign to stop gentiles from drinking milk so when the Rapture arrives it will be easier to beat up the left behind folks. But it's not true! Most my friends would be left behind, with me, and it's going to be a totally great party with all the uptight folks busy ascending or something.

Yes, this is what happens when my office mates get a coffee machine and we debate the price of milk. We're talking about 50 gallons of water for a teaspoon of milk here folks! Sure, most goes back in the water cycle, but that is a cycle that can't keep up with the production of cow piss --> irrigation --> evaporation --> rain --> portion to fresh water --> portion to my toilet or mouth or shower!

1 comment:

abmatic said...

They could both be right. The cow might *drink* 2 gallons of water per gallon of milk, but the water required to grow and fertilize the food to feed the cow is huge. It all depends on how you define the system in which you consider the use of resources like water.