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Author: Lehy, Stephen
Publisher: Firefly Books
Year Published: 2014
ISBN: 978-1-77085-295-2
Grades: Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6

Your Water Footprint: The Shocking Facts About How Much Water We Use to Make Everyday Products

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“Do you know you are wearing water?”
For every item you are wearing, the cost of manufacturing jeans, t-shirts, a cup of coffee, and breakfast, it costs about 700 litres (185 gallons) of water. Even though we don’t see the water it takes to make these things, it is just as real as the water we drink and bathe with. The water footprint defined in this book involved the total amount of water used, minus the clean water returned to a suitable source.  This book is intended to overwhelm and startle readers into an awareness of water consumption and hopefully, water conservation, through practical tips The sections of the book look at water itself, as well as energy use in transportation and electricity. At home, it examines the daily use of water itself, as well as water used for food, (particularly meat), manufactured goods, and clothing.
This book is a fascinating read about a topic we think we know a great deal about. Statistics are based heavily on the consumption of water in the United States, but global comparisons are also made, especially with Canada. The author, Stephen Leahy, is an environmental journalist from Canada and winner of the 2012 United Nations Global Prize for Climate Change Reporting. It is evident that this book is well researched and  likely more accurate than many resources available. There is even a reference to tar sand development in Alberta and its impact. (p. 11) Readers may be surprised that Alberta fairs much better in residential water usage than most provinces. Statistics are shown in both metric and imperial measurements. Background information about water consumption is explained in the Introduction.  The Big Picture section comprising the best part of the book allowing us to visualize what is happening to our water use through diagrams, photographs, maps, graphs and mathematical statistics. The  Conclusion shares what can and will be the future for water, our greatest resource, depending upon our actions as citizens of this world. Water Saving tips for inside your home, outdoors and lifestyle are included.
This is an excellent resource that can be useful in elementary through post-secondary institutes and public libraries.  It is a good match to the Statistics and Probability Alberta Mathematics curriculum strand.  Teachers might use it to have students represent the information in the book in some other manner visually, to help students analyze and apply their understanding of the issue.

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