Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

16 October 2023

World Food Day

What we eat, and how that food is produced all affect water. We can all improve the way we use it in our daily lives.  

Choose in-season fruits and vegetables because they usually require less water to produce. If you can, try to add more foods to your diet that require less water such as pulses, millets and nuts. This is a friendly choice for the planet while also adding more diversity to your plate.

When shopping for food, select fresh products because they are generally healthier and require less water to produce than ultra processed foods and beverages. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is an important part of maintaining good health, supporting the conservation of biodiversity and the health of our environment.

It takes a lot of water to produce food and to get it from farm to table. Lost and wasted food also means wasted water. Improve meal planning with a shopping list, buying only what you need to reduce your food waste. You can also try to reuse leftovers in a new recipe or try composting your scraps if you have the space.

Healthy ecosystems below water sustain life, provide food and conserve biodiversity. Next time you eat fish with friends and family, make sustainable choices. Choose fish that has been caught or farmed sustainably, such as eco-label or certified fish, and buy what you need. 

Conserving water saves energy and using water-saving techniques can also save you money. Take shorter showers, fix leaking pipes, don’t let the tap run, and collect rainwater or reuse the unsalted water that boils vegetables to water your plants. These are just some of the many ways you can be more conscious of your water usage.

The less pollution we create, the more beneficial it is to our environment. Don't pour food waste, oils, medicines and chemicals down the drain. It’s also a good idea to clean and empty your septic tank on a regular basis to prevent any drainage issues. Reducing pollution helps to keep our aquatic food systems healthy.

Take part in clean-ups of local rivers, lakes or seas or wetlands. Clean-up programmes and initiatives can reduce pollution, while educating communities about the importance of keeping ecosystems healthy.

A lot of water is required to produce energy. Buy energy-efficient domestic appliances and turn off the lights when you leave the room. When you aren’t using your electronic devices, like smartphones, computers or tablets, turn them off.

When buying clothes, choose natural and organic fibers like cotton or wool over synthetic options that have an energy intensive production process. Synthetic materials, like polyester or acrylics often, release microplastics that can pass through filtration processes entering our water systems and ocean, and eventually the food chain.

Reading news stories that offer water action solutions and highlight efforts of individuals or institutions making a difference can inspire change. Share this knowledge to encourage others, such as friends and family, to take action with you. Together, we can transform knowledge into action.

If you are aware of water issues in your community, why not call on local government and decision-makers to protect our water and safeguard ecosystems. If they know this is an issue their community cares about, they are more likely to change policies and regulations.