Do you know your water footprint?

Surfing Footprint

Water footprints are a similar concept to carbon footprints. We use a massive amount of water at home (the UK average is about 150 litres / person / day) but water use is also ’embedded’ in the food we eat, clothes we wear and  stuff we buy.

While water is a totally renewable resource, the way we use it (and abuse it) matters to surfers. Water and sewage treatment uses huge amounts of energy which contributes to climate change and many surfbreaks are polluted by sewage and industrial discharges and run-off from farming land and roads.

Pioneering US surf and outdoor apparel company Patagonia have been campaigning against dams and are taking action to reduce their water footprint through its ‘Our Common Water’ campaign. They are also supporting the idea of ‘water offsetting’ which involves buying certificates that are used to restore damaged rivers. This is a new approach for water although the idea of buying carbon credits has been around for some time and is very controversial among environmentalists as it often doesn’t go hand in hand with reducing carbon use and is a soft option compared with regulating water usage and discharges.

In Europe, improvements to water are being driven by the Water Framework Directive. There are local plans which set out measures needed to improve water ‘bodies’ (including inshore waters).

Here are 5 relatively easy ways to measure and reduce your water footprint:
1) estimate your water footprint
2) take some easy actions to reduce water use at home, including eating less meat
3) buy products from companies that consciously use less water and use proper treatment
4) encourage local government and businesses to reduce their water footprints, and
5) join Surfers Against Sewage or the Surfrider Foundation.

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  • not yesterday
  • Inverted perceptions
  • Exotic location
  • Standing stones
  • Surrealism
  • Vapourous ships of the dawn
  • Metal detectors behind me
  • Hands up this is a stick up
  • It's behind you
  • Stiff offshore
  • First drop in temperature for weeks
  • Towers of rain
  • Great anvils of moisture
  • The architect of the tide
  • Bird botherer
  • Serene scene

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