Development choices: pizza and water politics

Water is part of any production process. We need it to grow apples, as well as produce a packet of crisps. The amount of water needed in this process depends where we are because climate and agricultural practices will be the most important players.

The theme at the centre of this year’s World Water Day, ‘Water and Food Security’, looks at the role that we play as consumers in the production of food and what we can do. Accompanying the day, held earlier this year in March, is this short video that introduces the issues and our roles as responsible shoppers in shaping the world of food. Watch on!

How much water goes into our dinners?

It’s Friday night and you order in a Margherita Pizza with olives. Then you grab some chocolate and finish it off with a coffee and one sugar.

How much water is needed in order to produce your Friday night?

**Warning: calculator alert!


Marguerite Pizza with olives               1,216 + 250 litres of water

+ Chocolate (100g)                             2400 litres of water

+ An ‘Americano’ coffee with 1 sugar 140 + 10.5 litres

Total =  a whopping 4,016.5 litres!

Paul Farmer (United Nations Deputy Special Envoy to Haiti) once remarked in an interview on being asked about the links between social justice work, our own ‘self interest’ and responding to the needs of those living in poverty:

Ask a pizza man what’s for dinner and he’ll tell you pizza.

Is that a pizza is both delicious and convenient, as the pizza man would let us know, reason enough to keep eating buying it? What is the full story of a pizza – from production to plate – that we are not being told?

Here’s an idea: time to start displaying the ecological footprint info detailing the production process that food goes through to arrive in our shops, along with the nutritional info!


Explore more…

  • Water and Food Security Day advocacy guide 2012| UN Water | 36 page guide including tips on working with the media, explainer on the UN system and tips on getting started with advocacy on water issues including background information sheets