Water Diary

The water footprint of the average US household ranks among the largest in the world, at 1,802 gallons per day. Despite this, as a result of my own lifestyle choices, the water footprint I create is far lower, at only 1,128 gallons of water used per day. A large piece of the calculation for this information seems to come from the dietary habits of people, with an especially high consumption of water resources related to the amount of meat consumed each week on average. I consume meat in only a few meals each week, whereas many Americans eat meat with most of their meals each week. Other reasons for this difference comes from limited driving and short showers, among others. Based on information provided by the Water Footprint Network, the water footprint per capita of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel all fall at a larger number than my personal usage, but still below the US average. Only Palestine fell lower, with only 766 gallons per capita a day, but this is driven by Israel’s control over water and infrastructures surrounding its treatment and movement in the region. In all of these countries, the water footprint likely varies drastically, with a small group of people using exorbitant amounts of water and many living within these countries being unable to have consistent access to clean water.

Interesting to examine here is where the water footprints of these countries as a whole fall, with all but the West Bank and Syria seeing the majority of their footprint present externally from them. Since so much of this region already finds itself with a lack of water sources for their populations, tensions are likely to rise more in the future surrounding the usage of the existing water. Signs of this can already be seen around the Euphrates River, originating in Turkey but running through Syria, where tensions about dams on the river affecting people’s access to water for agriculture, drinking, and sanitation. The broader MENA region as a whole will be among the hardest hit regions on the planet by any climate driven crisis’s, and water scarcity is already emerging in the region, and the situation is already particularly grim in the Levant. As water scarcity issues become more severe with massive population growth expected, the possibility of conflict over this valuable resource creeps closer to reality. Leaders of the nations in this region, and beyond must begin to make plans for trade deals or infrastructure to use the water they have in order to avert future catastrophe for their populations.

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