Hoekstra invented the Water Footprint, similar to the carbon footprint, and has published vast amounts of data. He also has emphatic views:
In Europe, the average consumer’s domestic use is typically only 1 to 2 per cent of their total water footprint: the vast majority relates to the products you consume ... about 90 per cent of our global water footprint relates to food. About one-third relates to the production of feed for the animals we consume.
In California, for instance, the state’s biggest water use is for feed crops. Meanwhile, you have this drought going on, and all of the time the focus is on how terrible it is to have a drought. But the real focus should be on how stupid it is to have such a big water demand in a region where droughts are fully expected.
You can use less and less water per unit of production, but if your population is growing and your consumption booming, then that is simply not sufficient.All round the world we are mining water rather than recycling it. Ground water WILL run out and if we aren't ready we will all be in bad trouble.
Because it imports so many goods, three-quarters of the UK’s water consumption is actually outside of its borders. And about half of that usage is not sustainable.
We in northern Europe should realise that we are actually quite well off with water, and ask why we import water-intensive goods from water-scarce areas. It doesn’t make sense that we produce so little of our own food.