Myth: It Takes 2400 Gallons of Water to Make a Pound of Beef
The 2400 number may have been true 30 to 40 years ago, but modern beef production has improved significantly over time as better husbandry practices have actually reduced water usage. Today it takes 441 gallons of water to produce one pound of boneless beef.1
The large numbers often cited also rely on averaged global data. Other nations use more water than we do in the United States to raise livestock.
While 441 gallons might sound like a lot, it is important to keep this number in context compared to other products. It takes 713 gallons of water to make one cotton t-shirt, 39,090 to manufacture a car and 36 million gallons a day leaks from the New York City water supply system.2 Beef producers are always looking for ways to reduce their water use but while maintaining a high level of care for the animals.
One way you can lower the water usage related to beef production is to choose grain fed beef.
Grain fed animals grow to the market size 226 days faster than grass fed, so grass fed beef ends up using a lot more water. But it’s also important to consider ways you’re using water in everyday life. Just letting a faucet drip at one drip per second can use 3,000 gallons of water a year.