Personal Water Consumption Compared to US Average and Tigris River Valley

Compared to the US Average

Personal: 1,639 Gallons/Day = 6.20428991 m^3/day = 43.43002937 m^3/week =2264.56581715 m^3/year

I was surprised to find that I consume around 1,639 gallons of water per day, which is below the US average per capita of 1,802 gallons per day or 2060.542 gallons per day, depending on the sources. Despite living a lifestyle that includes activities that typically consume a lot of water, such as taking long showers and participating in water-intensive hobbies, I was not expecting my water usage to be relatively low.

One factor that I believed would significantly impact my water consumption is having an inground pool at my house, which remains uncovered for over half of the year. According to the water footprint calculator, open pools can lose up to 1,000 gallons of water per month. However, other factors, such as having an energy-efficient laundry machine and dishwasher, may have contributed to my lower-than-expected water usage. Another factor that has influenced my water consumption is my eating habits. Although I am not strictly vegetarian or vegan, I consume very little meat, which typically requires a significant amount of water to produce. 

Results Compared with the Tirgis River Valley

The Tigris River valley is composed of 4 states: Iraq, Iran, Turkiye, and Syria. This area is often characterized as a largely arid region (National 2023). hat Water footprint network provided the water footprint per capita in each nation, excluding Iraq. This source also included the water footprint for the US and is the number I will be reflecting on for the rest of this blog post. 

Syria: ≈ 1,532.2 gal/ day

Turkiye ≈ 1,188.8 gal/day

Iran ≈ 1,347.3 gal/day

Iraq ≈ no data available

US ≈ 2,060.5 gal/day

As anticipated, this region consumes significantly less water per capita than the United States. For instance, Turkey consumes nearly 1,000 fewer gallons of water per capita than the average American. While this is not surprising, I was taken aback by the figures in comparison to other states in the region. I had expected Syria to consume considerably less water than its regional counterparts, given its well-known drought issues. The data may be unreliable due to internal conflict, or it could be that Syria is utilizing virtual water through significant aid received from outside the region. Turkey’s numbers also surprised me greatly. I had presumed that Turkey would consume more water, particularly as an upstream state connected to the Euphrates River.

Social, Economic, and Political Implications

Water scarcity has a significant impact on agriculture, which is highly water-intensive. The reduced availability of water can lead to crop failures, resulting in higher food prices that affect populations socially and economically. This situation is particularly challenging in a region with high poverty rates, as many people cannot afford the increased food prices. The livelihoods of all people in the region are affected by water scarcity. Other industries, aside from agriculture, rely on water such as manufacturing and energy production. Without access to water, these industries would slow or come to a halt which would result in higher prices and less competitiveness in the global market.

Politically, water can affect infrastructure like dams, reservoirs, and water treatment facilities. Competition over limited water resources, such as rivers between countries can lead to conflict. For instance, the Tigris-Euphrates water conflict arose when Turkey built dams on the river, angering downstream states that relied on this water. Water scarcity can also lead to calls for government reform to address scarcity and improve resource management. In severe cases, populations may migrate to other countries with more abundant water resources.

 

Sources

“Grace’s Water Footprint Calculator.” 2024. What’s Your Water Footprint: Water Footprint Calculator. https://www.watercalculator.org/wfc2/complete/

National Geographic Society. 2023. “Tigris River.” National Geographic, October 19, 2023. https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/tigris-river/# 

Van Heek, Michiel & Hoekstra, Arjen. 2020 “National water footprint explorer.” Water Footprint Network. https://www.waterfootprint.org/resources/interactive-tools/national-water-footprint-explorer/.