A Thousand Gallons of Water Required to Make One T-shirt Reports Sharon Kleyne Hour
Despite Recent Improvement in Water Conservation, Kleyne Wonders if We're Even Asking the Right Questions
Hear the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water on World Talk Radio, Voice America, Green Talk Network and Apple iTunes
The manufacture of a single t-shirt requires an estimated one-thousand gallons of fresh water, including water to grow the cotton. That fact was reported on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show by author Brian Clark Howard. As global fresh water shortages and drought continue to increase, show host Kleyne wondered how much progress, if any, is been made in the use of water in t-shirt making, and in water conservation in general, since it was originally discussed on her show. Kleyne's recent shows have addressed that question.
Regarding water and t-shirts, Kleyne discovered, there has been progress but not nearly enough. Kleyne's overall conclusion, after considerable investigation, was that we might not even be asking the right questions. A better question, says Kleyne, is "how many t-shirts can be made by recycling the same 1,000 gallons?"
The globally syndicated Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show, with host Sharon Kleyne, is heard on the VoiceAmerica Variety and Health and Wellness Channels, and Apple iTunes. Kleyne is Founder of Bio-Logic Aqua Research, a research, technology and product development center, and the world's only company specializing in fresh water, atmosphere and health. Natures Tears® EyeMist® is the Research Center's global signature product for dry eyes.
Brian Clark Howard is a former National Geographic reporter who now hosts a website dedicated to environmental issues (www.brianclarkhoward.com). His latest conservation book is Build your Own Small Wind Power System (McGraw-Hill, 2011). Kleyne's interview with Clark took place on the Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water® radio show of April 16, 2012.(http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/70617/the-sharon-kleyne-hour/).
Growing cotton, according to Kleyne's recent investigation, requires much sunshine and warm weather but only a moderate amount of water. Cotton lends itself to irrigation in desert areas, which is why cotton is a major crop in California's Imperial Valley, Southern Great Plains and Egypt.
Cotton is also well suited for dry land farming, Kleyne discovered. In this method, organic mulch is used to retain water while pesticides and irrigation are not required. Because dry land farming reduces yield per acre, the method remains experimental (Chapman, AK, et al. "The water footprint of cotton consumption, Ecological Economics, November , 2006; http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921800905005574)"
A recent Huffington Post article, says Kleyne, stated that a t-shirt made of hemp fiber required "500 fewer gallons of water" to produce than a cotton t-shirt (Schroeder, E, "The 'Other' Hemp," Huffington Post, June 3, 2014. The article provided no reference citations). Hemp plants were described in the article as "highly drought and pest resistant."
While fresh water conservation is desirable during a water shortage, Kleyne believes that in many areas, cutting back on water may be unwise. Kleyne adamantly believes that the human body, for example, requires at least eight glasses of fresh water a day and that any less is foolish and dangerous. However, says Kleyne, it is theoretically possible to recycle and purify most of the water in those eight glasses so that the same water may be reused at a later dater.
Since the Howard interview, the ongoing California drought has substantially deepened and the nation's most agriculturally productive state, supported by a vast and complex network of dams, reservoirs and aqueducts, is on the verge of failing. As a result, farmers are turning more and more to ground water mining (J Famiglietti, "How Bad is California's Epic Drought?" TakePart.com, 2-22-14; http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/02/22/epic-california-drought-and-groundwater-how-far-have-we-come).
Kleyne continues to believe, in 2014, that although water conservation is crucial, especially during a water shortage, water recycling is even more important. Kleyne has observed that when crops are irrigated, even with drip irrigation, the vast majority of the water is not used by crop plants and either soaks into the ground, runs off or evaporates. That unused water, says Kleyne, could be captured and recycled over and over.
Kleyne also believes that fresh water for personal consumption and sanitation should be free or virtually free and that providing safe and abundant water is one of the most important functions of government to stimulate economic growth and assure a healthy population..