Winter has arrived. The heating’s back in use, and I’ve started wearing jackets to work again, after some time of managing to avoid it. (Normally if the forecast high is at 20 degrees or higher, it’s not worth taking a jacket, since I only end up sweating on the walk from the station, and at work it’s usually warm.)
If we weren’t in times of drought, people would be bitching about the rain, but instead they’re welcoming getting drenched on the way to work. “Oh yes, well, we really need it, don’t we.” It reminds me of the memo from The Games from Sydney 2000:
If it rains during the period of September 15 to October 1, say: “Goodness me. How tremendous. A benediction for Australia’s rich farmlands”. If it hails, go inside or you might get killed.
One can only hope that some of it is falling in the catchments. I know my garden is getting a fair bit, since after many months of the back garden grass gradually withering and dying, it’s sprung back, to the point where I’ve had to mow it twice in the last few weeks. (Andy comes sometimes to mow, but his time is better spent on keeping the hedges under control.)
Recent calls (in Queensland) for people to aim for 140 litres of water per person per day seem like a good idea to me. The Melbourne average is 162.6 litres, so evidently we can do better — though arguably better savings can be had in industry and agriculture.
By my calculations, the water consumption in our household is 133 litres per person per day (up slightly from the figure in 2006, which was 129 litres). I’m not yet rigidly watching the clock during showers, and I haven’t yet fitted the water-saving shower head (it arrives soon, part of the Origin Energy green power deal), so I know we can do better.
What I have done is stopped buying Australian-made rice. Rice (and some other foods) use enormous amounts of water to grow, so I figure we’re all better off buying our rice from elsewhere. There’s plenty grown in Southeast-Asia, where (hopefully) they have plenty of rain.
And yesterday’s article in The Age comparing water consumption for different foods was interesting too. Tea-drinkers may be amused to know that at 25 litres for a cuppa, we’re using less water than the 140 litres required to produce a cup of coffee.
Perhaps we should all just drink plain water. After all, it only takes a litre of water to make a litre of water.
Despite countries like China consuming a lot of rice, they’re still below western countries in water consumption, because of the huge amounts required for livestock.
All up, it takes almost 16,000 litres of water to produce a single kilogram of beef.
Almost enough to make one switch to vegetarianism.
In total, China uses around 702,000 litres per person per year; Australia is at 1,393,000 litres. Canada is 50% higher again, and the USA is almost double.