"Virtual Water" Being Used to Find "Real" Cost of Food and other Products

One of the most eminent and forward-thinking researchers on water resource uses, Tony Allan, of King’s College, London, will speak on the topic of “Virtual Water” – the “real” cost of food and other products in terms of water use.

His talk will start at 3 p.m., Sept. 26, at the International Cultural Center, 602 Indiana. A reception follows from 4-5 p.m.

“We are excited to have Dr. Allan accept our invitation to come to Texas Tech and talk about his work,” said A.C. Corrêa, director of the International Center of Arid and Semi-Arid Land Studies (ICASALS) at TTU and one of the co-sponsors of this event.

Ken Rainwater, professor and director of Texas Tech’s Water Resources Center and the other event sponsor added, “Allan’s work is having a direct impact on how water is viewed and will be integral to developing new methods to use water more efficiently in the future.”

Most people are aware of the shortage of water around the world. With the changing global climate, it is apparent that nearly every action of human beings has an impact on the world around us.

How much water, for example, does a morning cup of coffee use? According to Allan that cup of java actually uses 140 liters (nearly 37 gallons) of water in the growing, the production, the packaging and the shipping of the coffee. So in terms of water usage, a cup of coffee can be expensive. The average American uses around 6,800 liters (about 1,796 gallons) of “virtual water” every day in their daily routines.

Allan is credited as being the first person to put water cost into these terms of “virtual water” which has had a major effect on how water is being researched. What is the “virtual water” cost of the product? How can we make it lower? The title of the talk will be “Virtual Water: Capturing the Invisible is easier than communicating the Invisible.”

Allan’s presentation will be the ICASALS’ 2008 Holden Lecture. The William Curry and Frances Mayhugh Holden Lecture Series on Water and Life was implemented by Mrs. Holden with the inaugural lecture in September 1998. This series is named after two pioneers of research to honor their efforts and dedication. Texas Tech continues to recognize and appreciate the many contributions of Dr. and Mrs. Holden to the university and to the City of Lubbock.

CONTACT: Liz Inskip-Paulk, ICASALS, at (806) 742-2218 or cell (806) 790-0832, or elizabeth.paulk@ttu.edu.