Home Fashion The Thirsty Fashion Industry Uses An Unbelievable Amount Of Water Every Year

The Thirsty Fashion Industry Uses An Unbelievable Amount Of Water Every Year

Apparels are our basic necessity. The three essential things that a human being needs to exist are food, clothing, and shelter. They have various purposes. They protect our skin from harmful UV rays, against dust particles, protect our dignity, and are a style statement as well.

Similar to clothing, water is also an essential component, so much so that it has, in recent times, become a commodity i.e., we have to pay in order to have access to water. Water scarcity is a global issue. There is ample water in the world, but just 3% of it is fresh water which can be used for cooking and drinking. You must have seen nations fighting over water, and correctly so because everyone needs water. Water is life by all means.  

Water and clothing are two basic essentials, and if we combine these two, we will realize that the fashion industry uses water at an extreme level and if it continues to do so, the issue of water scarcity can worsen.

Water is vital and so is clothing.

Fashion Industry And Its Water Use

The fashion industry uses 79 billion cubic meters of water every year to produce textiles. This amount has reduced tremendously as up to 2020, the thirsty fashion industry was using 93 billion cubic meters of water which equals 37 million Olympic swimming pools!

The fashion industry uses excessive water

For making a pair of jeans, 3,781 liters of water is used, according to the United Nations Environment Program. This amount equals 5.5 years of fresh drinking water; however, it goes into making jeans.

A t-shirt which we wear on a regular basis at home, for work, or just to catch up with friends, uses 2,700 liters of water. This equals 11,340 cups of water that can be drunk over a period of four years.

Why Should It Reduce Its Water Footprint?

All of us now know that the fashion industry uses extensive water and is the second most water-intensive industry. As we discussed above, water scarcity is rising, and if this consumption by the fashion industry isn’t controlled, then soon in the future, we might be left with zero water.

If we go as per stats, nearly 2 billion people have no access to safe drinking water. It isn’t a new piece of information that the planet is becoming hotter with every passing day and it’s all because of global warming. The more the planet becomes hot, the more water we need.

All of us have known that in backward states, where water isn’t readily available, women have to walk miles and miles to get water. In Africa, 40 billion hours are spent in a year walking by women so that they can provide safe water to their families.

In India as well, a woman walks 3 to 12 miles a day to fetch water in rural areas. Water scarcity has become a burden on them. The problem of water is most realized in rural sectors of the world.

Women have to walk several miles to get drinking water

Also Read: Watch: Traditional Fashion Trends That Will Show You How People Are Willing To Kill Their Bodies To Be Called ‘Beautiful’


Other than drinking, water is used for hygienic purposes like brushing teeth, bathing, and more. However, 2.3 billion people can’t afford to use water for basic hygiene as well, simply because of water scarcity.

According to the World Health Organization, if everyone had access to safe and clean water which could be used for drinking and hygiene purposes, then approximately 2 million lives could have been saved per year.

What Can Be Done?

As compared to conventional cotton, organic cotton uses 91% less water. Hence, whenever possible, we must opt for organic cotton as it is a water-efficient choice. We discussed above that a pair of jeans uses extreme water. So, we must invest in low-water jeans.

Many clothing items use polyester. But polyester is a harmful fabric as it sheds millions of plastic microfibers and in turn, pollutes the water. So, we avoid buying items made of polyester to contribute toward making the planet healthy and clean.

I feel these stats are enough to help people realize that water scarcity isn’t just another piece of news, rather it’s a real-world problem. It is also enough for the fashion industry to realize as to why they must reduce their water footprints.

The change is visible, yet, more change is needed on our part and on the fashion industry’s part.


Image Credits: Google Images

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Sources: Global citizen, Vogue, Reuters

Find the blogger: Palak Dogra 

This post is tagged under: Fashion, fashion industry, fast fashion, water crisis, fashion pollution, environment pollution, water scarcity, jeans, denim, sustainable fashion 

Disclaimer: We do not hold any right, copyright over any of the images used, these have been taken from Google. In case of credits or removal, the owner may kindly mail us.


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