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Water footprint of individuals with different diet patterns

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Author(s): Vicente de Paulo Rodrigues da Silva | Kettrin Farias Bem Maracajá | Lincoln Eloi de Araújo | José Dantas Neto | Danilo de Oliveira Aleixo | João Hugo Baracuy da Cunha Campos

Journal: Ambiente e Água : An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Science
ISSN 1980-993X

Volume: 8;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 250;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Virtual water | diet | water resources

ABSTRACT
The “water footprint” (WF) concept has been recently introduced as an important indicator of human water consumption. WF is defined as the total volume of water used during the production and consumption of goods and services as well as of direct water consumption by humans. The objective of this work was to use the WF concept to analyze vegetarian and non-vegetarian consumers with different levels of family income. A case study was conducted with residents of Caicó city (Brazil) in order to estimate total amount of water consumed or polluted while producing the goods and services utilized by these consumers. The results indicated that, on average, the WF of the vegetarian consumer represents 58% of non- vegetarian consumers. The WF of the non-vegetarian female consumer was 10-13% smaller than that of the male consumer while for vegetarian consumers the female’s WF was only 5.8% less than the male’s. The WF of the consumer increases linearly with the family income. A population’s water footprint increases as a function of family income and decreases according to eating habits.
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