How Many Gallons of Water Does It Take to Make . . .

blue water splash

Xuanyu Han / Getty Images 

A worldwide water crisis is a-comin'. Don't believe me? Violence over water rights is already breaking out in regions of the world where water is scarce. Along with political tensions--and maybe wars--we're going to see food production affected, and more people flat out hungry and thirsty. And it's all because we're simply using too much water. We use too much when we shower, when we do the dishes--but mostly, we use too much to produce all the stuff we buy. In fact, you'd be surprised how many gallons of water it takes to create the products that make our lives comfortable. Here's a rundown of some of the most shocking . . .

How many gallons of water is in a . . .

Car It takes an estimated 39,090 gallons of water to make a car. It's unclear if that includes the more 2,000 gallons used to make its tires--each tire takes 518 gallons to make. [1]

Pair of Jeans
It takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of regular ol' blue jeans. [2]

Cotton T-Shirt
Not as bad as jeans, it still takes a whopping 400 gallons of water to grow the cotton required for an ordinary cotton shirt.

Single Board of Lumber
5.4 gallons of water are used to grow enough wood for one lumber board. [3]

Barrel of Beer
In order to process a single barrel of beer (32 gallons of booze), 1,500 gallons of water are sucked down. [3]

To-Go Latte
It takes 53 gallons to make every latte, as I've noted before: "That sugar, doesn't that have to be grown as cane first? Hm. And then there's that plastic lid, which has to be created and distributed over hundreds of miles. And doesn't plastic require a pretty vast amount of water and oil to produce? Come to think of it, there's the sleeve and the cup itself too . . ."

Gallon of Paint
Takes 13 gallons of water to make.

Individual Bottled Water
This irony shouldn't be lost on anyone: it takes 1.85 gallons of water to manufacture the plastic for the bottle in the average commercial bottle of water.

One Ton of . . .
Steel: 62,000 gallons of water
Cement: 1,360 gallons

One Pound of . . .
Wool: 101 gallons of water
Cotton: 101 gallons
Plastic: 24 gallons
Synthetic Rubber: 55 gallons

And that's just some of the stuff we make--check out how much water it takes to grow all of our food. We all need to make a conscious effort to watch what we buy for its water footprint. And it's not just the US, though--many countries around the world have alarmingly high water footprints, too. So keep your eyes open when you're shopping around--we're wasting way too much water.

Sources: [1] Water Resource of the United States (USGS) [2] [3] Water Conservation Facts