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Farming’s huge feet

One hundred and thirty five litres of water go into the production of a single egg. For a kilogram of wheat, it’s 1,300. Over the course of its lifetime, a typical cow consumes more than 3 million litres – that’s 2,400 to each hamburger. The figures (all global averages) are startling. And, according Dutch academic and creator of the “water footprint” concept Arjen Hoekstra, present a compelling case for greater transparency in the food industry.

Speaking at the Compassion in World Farming’s annual Peter Roberts Memorial lecture in London on Monday night, Hoekstra said that a product’s water footprint – in other words the amount of freshwater used over the various stages of the production chain – can be significantly reduced if farmers, governments and consumers take action.

For the agriculture industry, this means adopting precision irrigation (taking water directly to the plant’s roots, rather than spraying it widely which can save up to 50% of water); for governments, allowing water footprinting to influence other policy areas, such as trade and foreign policy; and for the public, demanding better labelling of products, Hoekstra said.

Whether greater consumer awareness leads to better choices, however, is subject to debate. Growing understanding of the links between meat and climate change have, after all, tallied with huge rises in meat consumption – which is expected to double again by 2050.

To work out your own water footprint, visit www.waterfootprint.org

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Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

很棒、很好

水是我们需要面对的实实在在的问题,没办法再拖下去。我一直有个问题不理解,不知道哪位大侠能够为我解惑,就是,节水到底有没有用?

我们自身消耗的水很少,绝大多数都是从你体内过一遍而已,因为90%的水并没有消耗掉。那么水都用到哪里去了呢,除了蒸发掉的,当然还有被污染的部分,实际上还是回到自然界了。问题是,自来水厂生产的水,你不用,水难道就被节省下来了吗?这个好像有些奥秘,盼望答复。

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Excellent, really good

Water is an issue we have to face up to until we come up with a solution. There's something that I don't understand though, and I was wondering if there's any kind soul out there who may be able to enlighten me. Is saving water actually of any use at all?

We personally consume very little water since most of it simply passes through our bodies, and 90% of it isn't used up. So where does all the water go? Apart from the water that evaporates and that which is polluted, it all returns to nature. The problem is this: if you don't use the water from waterworks, surely you're not helping to save it. This is a bit of a mystery, and I look forward to a reply.

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Default avatar
匿名 | Anonymous

回复评论1

请君到新华网三农论坛上看帖:请看,大旱之年旱地不灌溉也能高产!节水到底有没有用?有用,但用处不大!节约水的宏观流失用处太大了!农业用水问题是项世界性长期得不到解决的难题。十年九旱和年年水土流失,常常导致农业靠天收因素太大,甚至望种不望收赔钱。而300mm以上降水地域内的耕地中,有大于作物全生育期直接需求几倍的需水量,能解决作物全生育期直接需水量。地域内的耕地中能建成大于日降200mm水量体积的拦堵设施,能拦堵住强降水的径流,并能就地域内贮存到作物根系直接需水地层间,达到减少雨水流失、雨水在贮存、利用时段流失而治理地域内的水流失、水土流失,减少地域内、外发生洪灾水患的幅度、降低洪灾水患的概率。

[email protected]。请用中文交流。
河南省洛宁县志博农业新技朮推广有限公司雷新周

reply to comment 1

Please go check an article on Sannong forum at Xinhuanet.com: Look! High production despite the lack of irrigation during severe drought! Will bring any good by saving water? Yes, but not much. Saving water plans will lead to much macro losses. Water in agriculture has been a world problem for a long time. Frequent droughts and soil erosion leave more power to the weather in determining harvest. Sometimes farmers desperately wish for fair conditions for farming even not in the hope of harvesting. In the farm fields that are within the area where more than 300mm of rain fall annually, they actually possess more water than directly needed for the entire growth period of grains. In fields as such, we can build facilities to block more than 200mm water and bring it to the water-needing layer of the grain root. In doing so, it efficiently controls the losses of water, especially losses that occur during water storage and application, and then uses the water saved to deal with areas that suffer from droughts. Therefore it would also reduce the flood risk as well as the impact of the flood, if it happens at all.

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gaidee

一波未平一波又起:对话雷新周先生

看来雷新周同志在过去的20年为了中国农业的发展受了不少苦,他呢有了一个可以立竿见影地发展中国农业的好办法,简单易行,投资少见效大,但是由于打入不了咱们中国农业的主流专家之列,迟迟得不到推广和应用。缺衣少食,没人没钱,到处呼喊,响应者寥寥。通过和雷先生的短暂的电话交谈,虽然我还不大明白他的这个好办法到底是什么,实际效果如何,可是人家啊,自己出钱,北上兰州,北京,看来还是很认真的搞工作的,也许有些太自信,比如认为这个发明得以普及的话,那么袁隆平那两下子也相形见拙,估计还是有些内容的。我本来问的是节水有没有什么用,结果出来个更大的问题,一时半活儿还解决不了。中外对话呢,是个好渠道,咱们好多事情不都是这样子,墙内开花墙外香嘛,不知道海内外的读者诸君,是不是也花些时间研究一下,自己当不了诺贝尔奖获得者,能当个发现千里马的伯乐岂不是更爽?这确实是个很重要的话题。

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Legend In Energy Award Winner AEE 2009
能源工程师协会2009节能传奇人物奖得主(奖不大,还没奖金,但也是个奖)

ripple after ripple: a dialogue with Mr. Zhou XinLei

It seems that Mr. Lei Xinzhou has suffered from China's agricultural development during the past twenty years. As a result, he came up with a strategy, which is simple to implement and is expected to have immediately effective results with reasonable investments. However due to his lack of credential among the mainstream agricultural experts, the materialization of his great idea in wide application kept getting postponed. Lack of resources, such as money, support etc, despite his efforts to blow and broadcast, his followers are numbered. From my short phone conversation with him, I didn't completely understand what his good idea or its actual effects really are. However, I am quite convinced of his seriousness and enthusiasm about his work. After all, he paid out of his own pocket for his campaigning trip to BeiJing and LanZhou. Probably, he might be a bit overconfident in claiming that the successful implementation of his ingenious and creative idea will even make YuanLongPing's trick pale. Nevertheless, there might still be some truth in it. I was intended to ask him about the benefits of saving water, but now an even bigger question is entailed and can't be readily sorted in a short time frame. I share this here since I suppose ChinaDialogue is good channel for the global flow of conversation. Aren't a lot things work that way too? One's accomplishments are more easily known outside his own unit. I would like to suggest the readers across the ocean spend some time to discover talents like Lei Xinzhou. Being a talent like a Nobel Laureate is surely wonderful, but difficult as well. Isn't being the first one to recognize a potential talent also exhilarating? This is indeed an important topic.

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Legend In Energy Award Winner AEE 2009 (small award, no cash value either, however an award is an award.)