Beef is the biggest water user

Letter to the Editor


Editor, Index-Tribune:

In response to online comments about agricultural water use following the Jan. 24 editorial (“Boehner vs. fish and Delta farms”), rice does require a lot of water, twice as much as wheat, the next highest user. But the production of beef requires eight times as much water as rice, pork requires three times as much, eggs require twice as much and poultry requires about the same amount of water as rice. Therefore rice uses 1/8th the water as beef production.

So, you can have the greatest effect in saving water if you stop eating beef. Save the water – become a vegetarian.

Something else to consider: virtual water is the amount of embedded water used to produce agricultural and industrial goods. Agricultural products have water content, i.e., rice, wheat, beef, etc.

When these goods are traded, either interstate or exported off-shore, it is a virtual trade of water. The U.S., Australia, France and Argentina are the four largest exporters of virtual water.

The conclusion – water is a lot more complicated than just flushing the toilet less.

Chris Scott


  • Fred Hodgson

    Chris, what in the raising of grass fed beef uses so much water? Fred

    • Chris Scott

      Although I was not raised on a ranch. I think beef drinks water and then excretes it in liquid and solid forms much like we animals. And we do consume a lot of water too. Maybe we consume less water and that’s why we are not food. ;-)

      • Phineas Worthington

        In other words, Chris doesn’t know.

        • Chris Scott


          • Phineas Worthington

            Fear of the unknown clearly is what motivates you and others of like mind. Try being solution oriented rather than problem oriented.

          • Chris Scott

            Huh ?

          • Chris Scott

            If you would really like me to answer the question; “what in the raising of grass fed beef uses so much water?”, I’d be happy to.