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Problem of the Week

Problem B

That’s a Lot of Water

When you buy items, you “use” water from wherever those items were grown and/or produced. This water is called “virtual” water, but the water is in fact very real. According to data from The World Counts, the amount of virtual water you use on average when you buy four different items is shown in the table.

Item Amount of Virtual Water (L)
one cotton t-shirt 2500
one sheet of printer paper 10
one bag of chocolate chips 7200
one hamburger 1800

A drop of water

  1. Juan bought 6 cotton t-shirts, 500 sheets of printer paper, 5 bags of chocolate chips, and 15 hamburgers last year. Draw a bar graph to compare the amount of virtual water he used last year for each of the four items.

  2. Calculate the total amount of virtual water used for all the items in your graph from (a). On average, a 10 minute shower uses 200 L of water. How many 10 minute showers would it take to use that much water?

  3. In this activity we looked at the amount of virtual water used to produce four different items, but we use virtual water when we buy anything. What are some ways you can reduce the amount of virtual water you use?


Strand: Data Management and Probability