Jalava, M., Guillaume, J. H., Kummu, M., Porkka, M., Siebert, S., & Varis, O. (2016). Diet change and food loss reduction: what is their combined impact on global water use and scarcity?
This is a particularly important (and little known) paper that clearly highlights the influential role of diets in global water use and in water scarcity. The researchers found that switching to a “health diet” (a diet in line with WHO guidelines) globally would create water savings of 6% for blue water and 7% for green water; additionally, limits of animal-based protein to 25%, would create water savings of 11% for blue water and 18% for green water; and, that doing both while halving global food losses would lead to savings of 23% for blue water and 28% for green water. The savings modeled in the last scenario was found to “completely eliminate [water] scarcity in 13 countries with a population of 253 million and reduce it in 22 countries.”