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Water Footprint Calculator


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus


The Water Footprint of Food Guide

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  • This interactive database provides detailed information and images about the water usage needed to grow and produce one serving of many different types of food and beverages.
  • Students will be able to search for specific food items, sort by type, or scroll through a list in order to see how much water is needed to produce them. 
Teaching Tips


  • This resource is detailed and engaging, as students will be able to search on their own for foods they enjoy.
  • Each entry in the guide includes photos, data, and an explanation. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students can read about what a water footprint is and the different types of water used from the links along the top of the page.
  • Students will need access to the Internet to use this resource or screenshots could be used for offline incorporation of the material into lessons.


  • Cross-curricular connections can be made in health classes learning about healthy food choices or water consumption, or in social studies classes considering how the food produced in certain places can impact water reserves or farming practices.
  • Science classes could use this resource to discuss the difference between foods that come from trees and plants vs. foods that come from animals and take into account the ecosystem and climate benefits of well-established trees/plants, such as regulating the water cycle, filtering water and air, producing oxygen, providing habitat, reducing erosion, and sequestering carbon dioxide.
  • This resource would lend itself well to a jigsaw activity where each student becomes an expert on one, or several, entries in the guide and then shares their learning with their classmates. 
  • As an extension, have students piece together several entries in the guide to determine the water usage for a favorite recipe or entire meal. 
Scientist Notes
This catalog features the water use of food products, including where and how they are produced, those that require additional irrigation, and those that cause water pollution due to the application of pesticides and fertilizers. The resource is critically important as it will guide households on food choices that would draw down their water footprint, as compared to the average U.S. water use. This resource is recommended for teaching.

This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4. Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
      • HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
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