An even larger issue is the water needed to grow the feed that livestock eat. Researchers for the 2006 FAO report "Livestock's Long Shadow" report that 2,400 liters of water go into the production of one hamburger, while only 25 liters are needed to produce a potato. Likewise, a cheese pizza requires 1,200 liters of water-given the drinking, cleaning and feed needs of dairy cows-while a tomato pizza only needs 300.
Eliminating meat consumption would be a surefire way to save vast amounts of fresh water, and switching to a vegetarian or vegan diet is one way an individual can make a big impact on water consumption. "On average, a vegan, a person who eats no meat or dairy, indirectly consumes nearly 600 gallons of water per day less than a person who eats the average American diet," reports Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project and the lead water expert on the National Geographic Society's Freshwater Initiative.
Choosing organic food can also help keep an individual's indirect water consumption in check. Organic farming techniques conserve water both by using less, increasing the water-holding capacity of soils and reducing erosion as well as by not polluting nearby water bodies with run-off from synthetic chemical inputs.
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