Diet change—a solution to reduce water use?

M Jalava, M Kummu, M Porkka, S Siebert, O Varis
  • Environmental Research Letters, July 2014, Institute of Physics Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/9/7/074016

Diet change—a solution to reduce water use?

What is it about?

Water and land resources are under increasing pressure in many parts of the globe. Diet change has been suggested as a measure to contribute to adequate food security for the growing population. This paper assesses the impact of diet change on the water footprints of food consumption. We first compare the water consumption of the current diets, of a scenario where dietary guidelines are followed and of four scenarios in which we gradually reduce the amount of protein from animal products.

Why is it important?

Different to previous global studies we kept the diet composition in our analyses as close to original as possible to retain the traditional and culturally acceptable food composition in each country. Our results show that reducing animal products in the human diet offers the potential to save water resources, up to the amount currently required to feed 1.8 billion additional people globally.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Stefan Siebert