Water is essential the survival of every ecosystem and species upon planet earth. This is why Cabot makes an effort to stay as green as possible, recycling water rather than discarding it.
In fact in 2012, Cabot recycled 44,000,000 gallons of water throughout operations. While this is certainly impressive, it is difficult to picture what even 1,000 gallons of water looks like, let alone 100,000 or a cool million. To get an understanding for the magnitude of 44 million gallons of water, it may help to understand just how much can be done with 100 gallons or less:
- One gallon provides 16 glasses of drinkable water. With 44 million gallons, every citizen in the United States could enjoy two glasses of water.
- Water is used in the production of just about everything. For example, for every slice of bread, there are over 10 gallons used when producing the wheat.
- Doubling this number brings us to 20 gallons — this is how much water is used in a quick, four minute shower.
- Using around 100 gallons of water, a pound of potatoes, a pound of corn and even a gallon of tea can be produced. Keep in mind, water is just one of many resources used in production.
- At this level, it becomes easier to understand just how essential water is in day-to-day life, as most goods require substantial amounts of water to produce.
- “Small” foods are no exception. Soybeans require over 200 gallons of water per pound. Rice requires 500. Rice actually takes up 21% of worldwide agricultural water usage.
- Moving away from food doesn’t reduce the cost of water; over 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 500 sheets of paper!
Downpour: 10,000~ Gallons or less:
- The higher end of water usage is truly staggering. For instance, something as seemingly innocent as a pound of chocolate requires 3,000 gallons of water. This is due tochocolate being made up of 40% cocoa paste and 20% cocoa butter, both which have very high water footprints (3000/lb and 6,000/lb, respectively).
- A single 60 watt light bulb, when fueled by nuclear energy and lit for 12 hours a day, for a year, requires 6,000 gallons of water. This is primarily due to the amount of cooling fluid used in nuclear power. (FYI: Natural gas has a very low water footprint; at 0.1/kilowatt hour, it’s one of the lowest.)
What does this all mean?
With 44,000,000 million gallons of recycled water, you could produce nearly 15,000 pounds of chocolate, 88,000 pounds of rice, 44,000,000 million pieces of paper or take 2,000,000 4-minute showers.
It’s easy to see why water is so essential to everyday life — Cabot’s goal is to recycle 100% of water used in our Marcellus operations.