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Up to 60% of the human body is water – the brain is composed of 70% water, blood is 82% water, and the lungs are nearly 90% water. Water use in the 20th century increased more than sixfold, and continues to increase about twice as fast as the human population is increasing.

Currently, on a global basis, 69% of all water withdrawn for human use on an annual basis is soaked up by agriculture (mostly in the form of irrigation); industry accounts for 23% and domestic use (household, drinking water, sanitation) accounts for about 8%.

These global averages vary a great deal between regions. In Africa, for instance, agriculture consumes 88% of all water withdrawn for human use, while domestic use accounts for 7% and industry for 5%. In Europe, most water is used in industry (54%), while agriculture and domestic use take 33% and 13% respectively.

The current average North American diet requires over 1 800 m3 of water per person per year from both natural rainfall and irrigation; the diet of an average African living in the sub-Saharan region is produced with less than 650 m3 of water per person per year.

A child born in the developed world consumes thirty to fifty times the water resources that a child in the developing world consumes.Total annual freshwater withdrawal is 50 812 mcm/year (less than 2% of runoff) of which 63% is for thermal power generation, 15% for manufacturing, 11.5% for municipal use (urban and rural), 9.5% for agriculture, and 1% for mining.

It takes 39 090 gallons (about 148 000 litres) of water to manufacture a new car, including new tires.It takes 62 600 gallons of water to produce one ton of steel.

That's about 215 000 litres of water to produce one metric ton of steel.

It takes 9.3 gallons (about 35 litres) of water to process one can of fruit or vegetables.

It takes nearly 14 gallons (about 53 litres) of water to grow a medium-sized orange (4.6 ounces/130 grams) and to prepare it, in a packing plant, for market

It takes 48.3 gallons (about 183 litres) of water to produce one eight-ounce glass of milk when you add together the amounts of water needed to provide food and water for the cows, to keep the dairy barns clean, and to process the milk.

It takes about 45% more water to make a slice of white bread (10.6 gallons/40 litres) than a slice of brown bread (7.3 gallons/28 litres) because more flour is used and because that flour requires more processing to remove the brown colour.

 
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