ANALYSIS: Does it really take 11 litres to bottle 1 litre of water?
One water-saving suggestion posted on the Cape Town Water Crisis Coalition’s Facebook page was for residents to skip the bottled water aisle, as “it takes 11 litres of water to produce 1 litre of bottled water”.
Fatima Shabodien, the original poster of the content, told Africa Check that the post had originally been written in 2012 for internal purposes at ActionAid, where she serves as the country director for South Africa.
(Note: Chief executive of the South African National Bottled Water Association, Charlotte Metcalf, told Africa Check that “these treatments are not allowed for ’natural water’ or ‘water defined by origin’, which accounts for 90% of SANBWA members’ production”.)
Source: South African National Bottled Water Association Water footprint – similar to a carbon footprint “But of course that is only part of the issue – it also takes water to produce the bottles for bottled water,” Carden added.
A water footprint helps people understand how much water it takes to produce goods, water and sanitation expert Richard Holden told Africa Check.
Industry: 1.6 litres for every 1 litre bottled But water footprint assessments are not done regularly in the local bottling industry, Charlotte Metcalf, chief executive of the South African National Bottled Water Association (SANBWA), told Africa Check.
Metcalf says the few assessments SANBWA have conducted shows an average water usage figure of 1.6 litres for every 1 litre of bottled water produced by the organisation’s members.
As for the water used to make the plastic bottles, Metcalf didn’t have figures available.
Adding it to the 1.6 litre industry figure means producing 1 litre of bottled water would require just over 3 litres of water – with much giving and taking, of course.
But where does the water come from?