An Asian Plant-Based Diet Can Help Prevent Water Shortage

By Mark Fergusson
Chief Vegetarian Officer, Chief Executive Officer
Down to Earth ALL VEGETARIAN Organic & Natural

Honolulu, HI (July 3, 2012) – Water resources are becoming increasingly scarce in Asia; one of the major contributing factors is the increasing trends towards meat-based diets, which for example, requires four times the amount of water to produce than tofu. A bowl of rice, tofu and vegetables takes about 570 kilos of water to produce. That same meal with beef instead of tofu takes about 2180 kilos of water.

According to the United Nations, approximately 1500 litres of water is required to produce 1 kilo of wheat, but it takes ten times that amount more to produce 1kilo of beef. On average meat production requires 2,025 litres of water for every 150 grams, while soybeans take 412 litres and fruit takes only 69 litres of water for the same amount.

Paul Reiter, Executive Director of the International Water Association, has compared the water crisis to a slow-moving train wreck. He hopes the gathering of 7000 policy makers in September in Busan, South Korea, will provide a platform to discuss water scarcity and solutions. The hope is that the conferees will also seriously consider what impact managing livestock has on our diminishing water supply.

The Asia Foundation reports 84% of all water withdrawn in Asia each year goes to agriculture, while only 6% of water is used for drinking, washing and cooking, and the remaining 10% is used in development and industry. Given that food production requires more water than any other activity, it makes sense to urgently consider the impact of food consumption on water resources.

By choosing to have a vegetarian diet instead of a meat-based one, each one of us can do our little part to help conserve water resources and protect the environment, and together make a bigger impact overall.