Your Water Footprint

An artwork by Clive Moloney.

Natural Forces; Three Sculptors Respond.

St. Gaudens Memorial, Cornish NH

June - Oct 2018

Within our rapidly changing climate water has become a very prevalent issue. We regularly face flooding, droughts and water pollution disasters. Water scarcity affects over 2.7 billion people for at least one month each year . In the developed world we take fresh water for granted, seldom giving a second thought to where water comes from and how much we are consuming on a daily basis. Everything we use, wear, buy, sell and eat uses water in its production. The water footprint measures the amount of water used to produce each of the goods and services we use. It can be measured for a single process, such as growing rice, for a product, such as a pair of jeans, for the fuel we put in our car, or for an entire multi-national company.


There now exists online software to calculate a single person’s water footprint. My footprint is approximately 1500 gallons of water per day. This colossal number really opened my eyes to how much fresh water I use every single day. it includes direct use such as flushing the toilet or washing the dishes to indirect use such as eating a meal or flying cross country. Your Water Footprint is a representation of my personal water footprint in the form of an art installation, a type of self portrait. This autobiographical artwork could just as easily represent anyone else's footprint living in New England today. For information on how to reduce your water footprint visit waterfootprint.org


In the meadow of St. Gaudens Memorial you will see approximately 30 pipes with faucets on top, they are all at different heights representing data from my water footprint. For example one pipe is 55 cm tall, representing the 55 gallons of water it takes to produce a single cup of coffee. In addition to the pipes with faucets there stands an elevated water tower with a 1500 gallon capacity. This stands in the center of the meadow and directly represents my daily water footprint.

Burned into the wood of the water tank is Genna Rose Nethercotts poem, It Might Only be Urban Legend. Genna Roses poem is a very poignant view of a future without water. See the full poem below.

Please see images and more information below.

A description of each pipe and faucet in the meadow;

The height of each pipe corresponds to water use, 1 centimeter = 1 gallon. For the heights above 360 cm the pipes have sprouted extra arms and faucets.

Please see the plaque by the artwork for more information.

 

Cheese Sandwich, 124 gallons

Agriculture, including dairy and wheat production, accounts for approximately 92% of the global water footprint.

12 oz Steak, 1529

Beef production is by far the largest consumer of freshwater due to the amount of cattle feed needed to raise a single cow.

1 lb Chicken, 571

If the world’s population stopped driving cars and eating meat we would solve most ecological problems but as a realist I would ask you to eat more white meat over red meat and be aware of when you actually need to use your car.

Head of Lettuce, 31

Pesticides pollute fresh water sources. Buy organic vegetables when possible.

2 litres of Coca Cola, 38

France, Mexico, Hungary and Britain have all introduced a Sugar tax on Soda’s in an effort to curb childhood obesity.

Bottle of Wine, 174

Most wine consumed in the US comes from California. This is the area most affected by severe drought in the US.

1 gallon of milk, 1020

It takes 297 litres of water to product 1 litre of soy milk compared to 1050 litres of water to product 1 litre of cows milk.

57 gram Chocolate Bar, 259

This includes the high water footprint of sugar cane at 210 gallons per pound. Eat dark chocolate as an alternative, it uses far less sugar and milk.

1lb of Almonds 859

Groundwater basins are rapidly being depleted in California’s Central Valley region due to intense fruit and vegetable production.

Cup of Coffee 35

Tea uses almost 10 times less water to produce than coffee.

Margarita Pizza 333

A study of pasta and pizza consumption in Italy shows both foods have a high water footprint which leads to the average Italian person having a larger footprint than a US citizen.

6 pack of Budweiser 160

Most of the water used to make beer comes from barley production. Beer companies such as SAB Miller are working to reduce their water footprint.

Bath 70

Use the shower, it only uses 17 gallons for an average shower time.

Fly Boston to Toronto 19574

A return flight from Boston to Toronto. The International Air Transport Association expects 7.2 billion passengers to travel in 2035, a near doubling of the 3.8 billion air travelers in 2016.

Washing Machine 40

A new energy efficient front loading washing machine only use 15 to 30 gallons.

Watering Lawn 623 gallons

Based on watering a lawn 1 inch for 1000 sq ft. I use a simple plastic hose irrigation system on a timer to water my vegetable garden, this saves a lot of water.

Car Wash 100

Washing a car at home with a hose is wasteful at 100 gallons on average, compared to an automatic car wash which only uses 15 to 60 gallons of water.

13 oz of Pet Food 494

Poultry based pet food uses over three times less water than red meat based foods.

fill gas tank, SUV 207

Think before you jump in your vehicle, can I use public transport or ride my bike. Buy smaller vehicles, more energy efficient or electric cars.

Valentines Roses 37

Most cut flowers purchased in the US come from the savannah outside Bogota, Columbia, where due to overproduction springs, streams and wetlands are disappearing.

15 lb Thanksgiving Turkey 3990

For an American family of four, the average value of discarded produce is nearly $1600 annually. Avoid wasting energy and food at Thanksgiving.

Jeans 1508

Cotton is grown in some of the most arid regions in the world and uses vast amounts of water to grow and manufacture into jeans. Levi Strauss aims for sustainable cotton by 2020.

Leather Shoes 2116

Eco friendly alternatives include vegan, canvas or synthetic shoes.

Harry Potter Books 216

It takes 36 gallons of water to produce one pound of paper. All 8 books in the Harry Potter series equal 216 gallons.

Swimming Pool 18000

Covered pools save 30% to 50% of the water that would otherwise evaporate.

Disposable Diaper 144

A cloth diaper has a 198 gallon water footprint but it can be used dozens of times.

Smart Phone 241

The average American buys a new phone every 22 months. Recycle your old phones. Go to e-stewards.org to find out how.

 

It Might Only Be an Urban Legend

A poem by Genna Rose Nethercott

Before the drought, water covered great swaths of land. No Rustbeds.

No H20 pills. Wet so real you could lie in it. Silver spigots never ran dry.

All you had to do was turn a knob. Poured out clear. No tar or weevils

to strain through cheesecloth. No need for boiling. Folks would drain

gallons and stand under it, just to make their skin smell sweeter.

 

Mostly, people drank the water, but sometimes water drank people.

Men went off in boats and didn’t come back. Water fell from the sky.

Gulped down whole houses. There’s an old myth about a woman who

put stones in her pockets and walked into a streambed so deep she

turned ghost. Imagine how rich you’d be if you had so much water you

could die in it. Richer than God.