Thanksgiving is a time for good food, family memories... and lots of water. (TenSafeFrogs/flickr)
Turkey, of course, is essential for any Thanksgiving meal. You're probably also about to enjoy some delicious stuffing and cranberry sauce, maybe some mouthwatering mashed potatoes, perhaps a piece of heavenly sweet potato pie. But Thanksgiving dinner isn't possible without water -- a lot of water.
Food production is water intensive and we eat a lot of food on Thanksgiving.
In fact, it takes over 40,000 gallons of water to produce food for a large holiday meal for four adults and four children that includes a 20-pound turkey with all the fixings, according to Danny H. Rogers, a professor and agricultural engineer at Kansas State University Reasearch and Extension.
Rogers gave a presentation last year highlighting Kansas' water usage to the state's Joint Committee on Energy and Environmental Policy. Here's part of the chart Rogers put in his presentation:
Gallons of Water Needed
Margarine (including cooking)
Fresh fruit salad
Milk for four
Wine for four
Source: Kansas Department of Agriculture (2010)
That 40,000 gallons of water doesn't even include the water it takes to actually cook the meal and clean up after it. To put that in perspective, a family of four would use about the same amount of water if they each took a 10-minute shower every day for almost a year, according to EPA estimates of household water usage.