chapter  6
6Chapter Groundwater Consumption for Health and Food
Pages 58

We can consume groundwater in at least two signifi cant ways-directly through drinking it and indirectly through food produced by using it as an input. Drinking groundwater is obvious if you have a well on your property or used by your community as a water supply. Less obvious to most people, except the farmers, is the consumption of groundwater through food. Irrigated agriculture is the largest use of groundwater in many countries. Groundwater may also be the primary water supply for animals consumed by humans. Since food grown in one location using groundwater usually leaves that place to be consumed in another location, interest has grown in “virtual water” use or supply. That is, the consumption of food, or any product, by one group that is not the producer of the commodity but requires water in its production. The fi rst way of groundwater consumption we explore is drinking it and then consider irrigated agriculture for food supplies that require it.