Much Water to
Make One Pound of Beef?
To date, probably the most reliable and widely-accepted water estimate
to produce a pound of beef is the figure of 2,500 gallons/pound.
The beef industry promotes a study that determined, using highly suspect
calculations, that only 840 gallons of water are required to produce
a pound of beef.
Bestselling author and vegetarian trailblazer John Robbins has
examined in detail a variety of estimates and how they were arrived
at, and discussed some of his observations in a recent article (linked
So what's the beef with beef, when it comes to water?
Simply put: it's wasteful and irresponsible to squander our precious
resources on a luxury item like meat.
The only question we're left with is: just how wasteful and irresponsible
Once again, our intrepid investigator, John. Robbins, recently
uncovered some startling new evidence. That evidence comes in the
form of a scholarly new book which sheds new light on the subject.
Edited by David Pimentel and others and published last December,
the book is titled Ecological Integrity: Integrating Environment,
Conservation and Health (Island Press, Washington DC, 2000).
Pimentel is a celebrated professor of ecology and agricultural
science at Cornell University, who has published numerous articles,
books and studies. To see just a tiny sample of his work, click
The other editors of the book are Laura Westra, professor of environmental
studies at Sarah Lawrence College, and Reed Noss, president and
chief scientist for Conservation Science, Inc., and president of
the Society for Conservation Biology.