Global focus on livestock water consumption

Livestock water consumption will be an increasingly important factor in global assessment of agriculture’s environmental impact, says Italian agri-industry group Carni Sostenibili.

Global focus on livestock water consumption

The group says Italy produces beef using 25% less water than the international average.

Carni Sostenibili — literally ‘Sustainable Meat’ — is an initiative of three Italian meat chains: Assocarni, Assica,and Unaitalia.

Italian beef has a footprint of 11,500 litres of water per 1kg of meat, 25% less than the 15,415 litres world average.

Of this, only 1,495 litres, 14%, is consumed.

The other 86% is made up of ‘green water’, rainwater used to grow feed.

The Italian study says water used to cultivate feed is mainly ‘green water’, or renewable rainwater.

Animals’ drinking water is classed ‘grey’ and ‘blue’.

Ireland’s water footprint is not viewed as an issue, due to abundant rainwater. Nonetheless, Teagasc and its partners have conducted studies in this area.

For dairy, the global mean water footprint is about 1,020 litres of water per litre of milk produced, made up of 863 litres of green water, 86 litres of blue and 72 litres of grey.

For Irish dairy, the figure is 716 litres per litre of milk, made up of 37 litres of blue water and 46 litres of grey water.

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