The explosive growth of international trade has turned water into a traded commodity. Research into the water footprint of goods has revealed the true extent of the situation.
It takes 650 litres of water to produce 1 pound (500g) of wheat, 2500 litres of water to produce enough meat for a burger and a staggering 4650 litres to produce a 300g beef steak.
Countries who export substantial volumes of crop and animal products are now experiencing water shortages; India, the USA and Australia being three major examples where water shortages have led to wide-scale conservation efforts.
We have created an infographic below which highlights the globalisation of virtual water flows and breaks down the activities of the top 5 net importers and exporters of virtual water.
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