8/16/20233 min read


When we think of the water we use in our daily lives, we probably associate it directly with what we drink, wash or water. However, there is a type of water that we rarely consider but that plays a fundamental role in our daily lives: virtual water. In this article, we will explore what virtual water is, how it affects our water footprint, and how we can make more conscious choices to preserve this essential resource.

Examples of virtual water

Some examples illustrate how much virtual water is needed to produce certain products:

  • A kilogram of beef may require thousands of liters of water to feed cattle and grow the food it consumes.

  • A pair of jeans may be associated with thousands of liters of water used in growing and processing cotton.

  • A cup of coffee can take hundreds of liters of water to grow and process coffee beans.

These examples highlight how our consumption habits can have a significant impact on global water demand.

Virtual water is an essential and often overlooked component of our daily consumption. By becoming aware of the water footprint of the products we consume, we can make more informed and responsible choices to preserve this invaluable resource. Every choice we make has an impact on water availability around the world, so it is our collective responsibility to adopt more sustainable consumption habits and take care of water, not only the water we see, but also the water that is invisible but vital to our survival.

What is virtual water?

Virtual water refers to water that we do not see, but that is used indirectly in the production of goods and services. It is the water needed to grow, process, manufacture and distribute the products we consume. Every time we buy food, clothing, electronics or anything else, we are also buying the water that was used in their production, even if it is not obvious to the naked eye.

Making more sustainable choices

Reducing our water footprint is essential to ensure responsible water use and preserve this scarce resource. Some actions we can take to do so include:

  • Conscious consumption: Choosing products with a smaller water footprint, such as local and seasonal foods, or clothing made from sustainable materials.

  • Reduce waste: Avoiding food and product waste helps reduce the amount of virtual "wasted" water.

  • Save water at home: Implement water-saving practices in our daily activities, such as turning off the faucet while brushing our teeth or using efficient irrigation systems in the garden.

  • Support sustainability: Opt for brands and companies that consider sustainability in their supply and production chain.