Friday, 4 February 2011

Time for a Cuppa?

We Brits love our tea but would we be so fond of our traditional beverage if we knew the consequences of sipping our favourite thirst quencher?

Water is used in almost every stage of food production, from growing crops to animal feed to washing and preparing products. Researchers at Cranfield University have calculated just how much water is used to produce common foods:

  • Cup of tea –-32.4 litres

  • Pint of Beer – 160 litres

  • 1 glass of wine – 120 litres

  • 1 glass of milk – 200 litres

  • 1kg of beef – 15,000 litres

  • 1kg poultry – 6,000 litres

  • 250g packet of peanut M&M's – 1,153 litres

  • 575g Dolmio pasta source – 202 litres

Surprisingly the British Hydrological Society has stated that a typical balanced diet requires 3,500 litres of water per person per day!

So what does this all mean?

As the world population increases the demand for food will also increase and so will the demand for water to make this additional food. A three year study complied by the The World Business Council on Sustainable Development concludes the next 20 years could see the globe witness:

  • Conflicts in many countries

  • Cholera may return to London

  • Mass migration of Africans could cause civil unrest in Europe

  • Chinas economy could crash by 2015

So it seems the old ditty once chanted by sailors, “Water water every where but not a drop to drink” may become a reality during our lifetime!

To find out how you can get help to combat water shortage and reduce climate change, contact Birmingham Friends of the Earth and help us with our campaigns. There are also national weeks looking at doing something for the environment: Go Green Week at universities ( and Climate Week ( ) held nationwide from the 21st - 27th March. We will be out and about at events in Birmingham this year to offer friendly supportive advice on climate change as well as other important environmental issues, too.

So now then - Anyone for a cuppa?

By Soraya Hodgetts


Tektlab said...


Tektlab said...
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Anonymous said...


Davies,J (2009) "Experts warn of major water shortage" Farmers Guardian, 31st March 2009 available online at:

Vidal, J(2006) "Cost of water shortage: Civil unrest, mass migration and economic collapse" The Guardian, 17th August 2006, London