Agriculture uses up 70% of water consumption worldwide

The world’s population is growing by 80 million people each year, with the demand for fresh water increasing by 64,000 liters. Freshwater withdrawals have tripled over the last 50 years because of significant changes in our lifestyles and eating habits. Think of bottled water, meat consumption and fast fashion.

Agriculture accounts for 70% of all water consumption worldwide, compared to 20% for industry and 10% for domestic use. But when we look at industrialized nations, industrial water consumption is more than half of the water available for use. Belgium, for example, uses 80% of the water available for its industry.

Photography Credit: Tomas Hertogh

India uses the most water in the world, at 761 billion cubic meters, followed by China, who uses almost 600 billion cubic meters.

When we look at per person, the numbers are shocking, although this isn't a good measuring tool when you actually want to look at daily water consumption of people, as it includes the use for agriculture etc. Still, to give you some stats, India uses an average of 1700 liters per person per day. China just over 1100 liters. But that's not the highest average per person per day a country can get, as Turkmenistan is the big winner for that contest: 16,281 cubic meters. That's enough to fill 6.5 Olympic sized swimming pools...!

The second runner up is Chile, luckily using nowhere near as much, only 2 Olympic sized swimming pools worth.

Here in the UK, we only use 348 liters average per person per day - this average is 10 times higher in the States. It's an interesting stat, as this shows that the UK apparently doesn't produce much in an agricultural and industrial sense.

So, if we want to change the way we use our freshwater in the world, there are a couple of big countries who need to make this change, but as the biggest culprits are India and China, I don't think this change will ever come.