Nothing has changed for over a week. Every night, when I come home from work, I see long lines of people—carrying as many empty buckets as they can—waiting until the early hours of the morning for fire trucks to give them water. Mandaluyong City, one of the cities within the Philippines’ capital, Manila, has been severely affected by water shortages. Since March 9, running water from taps has been cut off for 22 hours every day. According to the Manila Water Company, Inc.—which supplies water to the eastern side of Manila—the water shortage will last for three more months because of the onset of El Niño weather conditions.
As the water crisis worsens, people have started practicing different ways to conserve water, but did you know that by simply switching to vegan eating, you can save approximately 829,000 liters of water in a year?
The animal-agriculture industry uses a copious amount of water to grow crops for animals to eat, clean filthy farms, and give to animals to drink. A single cow used for milk can drink up to 190 liters of water per day—or twice that amount in hot weather—and it takes 2,585 liters of water to produce just 3.5 liters of milk. It takes about 15,500 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of beef, compared with just 1,000 liters to produce 1 kilogram of wheat.
Water required per day: Vegan diet: 1,100 litres ? Meat-based diet: 15,000 litres ???
— PETA Asia (@PETAAsia) January 12, 2019
Another negative impact that the animal-agriculture industry has on water is that the water runoff from factory farms and livestock grazing is one of the leading causes of river and lake pollution—and it can contaminate groundwater with viruses and bacteria. A United Nations report called the livestock sector “a key player in increasing water use” and “probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution.” A typical pig factory farm generates a quantity of raw waste equal to that of a city of 50,000 people—but without a sewage system.
Water is vital to our survival, but each day, animal agriculture consumes a shocking 2.5 trillion liters of water—enough for everyone in the world to take eight showers. We’re losing water fast, and we need to change the way we deal with the problem. Conserving water through the usual means is helpful, but addressing one of the biggest reasons for the crisis is better. By going vegan, you won’t only save many animals but also, potentially, many humans.
Written by PETA Asia intern Corrine Abalos