Embedded water II

Recently, I linked to a BBC article that quantified the amount of water embodied in production of a variety of goods (hidden or embedded water). National Geographic reports a similar analysis of U.S. products. Their article is on the high water costs of pet food, but a related app (Flash required) lets the user click and compare the hidden water in many foods.

I didn't like the way they presented their data, so here's a little table that I made to compare hidden or embedded water in beverages. Wine leads the list of beverages that require high amounts of hidden/embedded water. They attribute this to water used on the grapes. I wonder how they separated grapes produced for the table from grapes produced for wine from grapes produced for grape juice. The cultivation practices and prime growing climates can be very different. It's not unheard of to dry farm grapes for wine but that practice wouldn't get you very far if you wanted to sell dry farmed grapes for the table.

Beverage / liters of water to produce one liter of beverage
Wine / 1004
Apple juice / 949
Milk / 876
Coffee / 876
Orange juice / 848
Beer / 686
Tea / 127


  1. There is a shockingly high amount of embedded water in petrochemicals. Someone asked me about my water usage for washing out plastic bags for reuse. I pointed out that it was small in comparison to the amount of embedded water in the manufacture of the plastic bag.

    On a related note, I decided that I don't have to give up my daily cup of coffee because I drive so little (and in such an economical car).

  2. I felt pretty good about the way I eat until I got to the calculation for chocolate, one of my staples--3170 gallons! But that's for a pound, which isn't an amount I usually consume...