How much Water is used to make our everyday things?

Very few people concern themselves with water, as long as the tap runs when they turn it on, what’s there to worry about? Unfortunately, there is a lot to worry about, it takes a lot more water than you might think to make the things most people take for granted. Even worse, it the problem of what to do with the water left over after it has been used, many agricultural and manufacturing processes turn perfectly good drinking water into a toxic stew. This article looks at how much water it takes to make things, and what happens to the water afterward.


Many oil companies use a method called “fracking” to fracture underground rock formations called shale so they can release pockets of trapped methane gas. The process requires about 2 million gallons of drinking water that is taken from the local community where the well is that is being fracked. The water is mixed with toxic chemicals, so after the well has been fracked, the water that is recovered is toxic and must be disposed of. Fracking leads to serious environmental consequences, (such as flammable tap water) which are discussed in an earlier post on this blog.

Bottled Water

Water is used to make the bottle as well as fill it; it takes 1.5 gallons of water just to make the bottle. Manufacturing plastic takes a lot of water, to make one pound of plastic, it takes 24 gallons of water. Many plastic manufacturers try to reuse some of their water, but the water that is discharged often has dangerous chemicals in it, and small bits of plastic. In the environment, animals eat the small pieces of plastic, which then fill their stomachs, and then they starve to death.

Pair of Jeans

To grow enough cotton to make a pair of jeans, it takes 1,800 gallons of water. Water used to grow cotton returns to the environment laden with fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The tainted water has devastating consequences of the environment. Many species have been driven to the point of extinction from the byproducts of cotton production. Toxic DDT (now outlawed) was a popular pesticide used on cotton.


It takes an astonishing amount, 2847 gallons to make a single serving of chocolate. Thankfully, chocolate can be made responsibly and much of the water used to grow the cacao beans can be returned to the environment for reuse if the chocolate is grown using sustainable methods of agriculture. Unfortunately, much of the chocolate that is produced is not grown using sustainable methods, and the resulting water pollution contaminates drinking water wells in the third-world countries where most chocolate is grown.

A Human

About 70% of our bodies are made of water. A person should drink about 6 – 8 glasses of water a day to remain hydrated. Most of the water used by people is recycled, and safely returned to the environment. The problem is, that many of the other activities that use water end up poisoning it, and because of that, poisoning people. Clean water is something most of us take for granted, but the reality of the situation is that much of our water isn’t clean.

Do you know if your water is safe? If you don’t, h2oforhealth can help by providing you with a free water report from your local water authority.