How much water do we consume in our daily life? Not so much. Here in Jakarta where I write this, many houses have a water tank on the roof, particularly in the suburbs. It is typically made of plastic, orange in colour, seen from afar, and can hold about 500 l of water, that is 0.5 m3 (or more or less 0.5 ton if you wish). That is not much, and our personal water consumption normally does not come to much either – we take a bath or two, we wash the dishes and our clothes. We flush the toilet.

BUT – most of our water consumption goes unnoticed – we hardly know anything about the real extent of it. I read in a paper that it takes 10 m3 (yes, 20 of those tanks) to produce one pair of jeans! I assume that includes the irrigation of the cotton fields. But even so it is a lot of water! Processing, shrinking and colouring adds to it. – A simple Tshirt is said to require 2.7 m3.


Conclusion: value your clothes, be careful with them and wear them as long as you can! (The fibre can be reused, maybe you can hand in worn-out clothes somewhere for recycling)

But I find it really disturbing when I read that to make a smartphone takes almost 13 m3 of water. (And that is probably clean water!) This is stated in a report of May 2015, commissioned by Friends of the Earth.

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