Drought prompts people to pay more attention to water footprint

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, March 10 2014 at 6:51 PM, Updated: Tue, March 11 2014 at 2:34 AM

The drought in Oregon and California could not only affect your water bill this summer, but it could also take a toll on how much you spend at the grocery store.

That's why some people are trying to make a difference in a new way by paying attention to something called a water footprint.

First it was reducing your carbon footprint, by doing things like carpooling or buying local, but now people are thinking about the water footprint for the products they buy at the grocery store.

"That's amount of water that's required to produce that item.
So, for instance a typical hamburger requires six hundred and sixty gallons of water," said Kyle Rabin, with Grace Communications Foundation.

In addition to awareness about the water it takes to produce food,  in the Rogue Valley, businesses are also thinking about their water footprint.

"We now offset all of our water usage 100% with water restoration certificates. So they're kind of like green tags you get to offset electricity, but we're offsetting water usage," said Annie Hoy, Communications Director at the Ashland Food Co-Op.

The Co-op even uses a practice called zero-scaping.

"Zeroscaping is when you plant plants that use the least amount of water," explained Hoy.

Over at Standing Stone Restaurant and Brewery, water is conserved and re-purposed after it's used to cool hot liquid in fermenters.

"We can recapture that water and it's preheated water now for use at a later time in the brewing cycle," said Larry Chase, Head Brewer at Standing Stone Brewery.

People and businesses, are now paying more attention to their water consumption. It's a resource experts said is disappearing far too quickly from the drought that's strangling parts of the U.S. as well as California and Oregon.

Find out more about your own water footprint: http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/home

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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