We have a result! Going Vegan won the Best Water Ideas campaign with as much 58 % of the total 2,730 votes.

People representing all ages, disciplines, and continents has voted in the campaign over the past couple of months.

Meat production has several effects on the environment, and is relatively water intense compared to producing other crops.

It  requires 15,500 litres of water to produce 1 kg beef; this can be contrasted to 180 litres for 1 kg tomatoes and 250 litres for 1 kg potatoes.

The virtual water we eat (i.e. the water needed to produce the crops on our plates) constitutes the majority of all water we use, and can be as large as 4000 litres of water/capita/day.

If more consumers changed to less water intense diets and chose for example pulses, vegetables and grains over meat, a lot of water could be saved.

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Water footprint of products

SIWI vegan graph updated

Infographic of water required to produce different products, based on figures from Water Footprint Network.

The campaign

Through this campaign SIWI sought to draw attention to the imperative role of great water ideas for societal development. Since earlier this spring, we have collected over 150 water ideas. The ten most popular ideas among the submissions made it to the final, where thousands of people shared their votes.

Anyone interested has been able to vote for their favourite idea online since the beginning of June, and the water ideas were also showcased in the public exhibition of World Water Week. There, participants of the week as well as inhabitants of Stockholm could leave their votes in person.

There has been a lot of digital buzz around the campaign; people from all over the world, and all disciplines, have shared their votes and discussed the ideas and their implications. Have a look at the online conversation on official hashtag #BestWaterIdeas.

The ten finalists


Rainwater harvesting

The world’s population is growing fast, and with it, the demand for freshwater resources. With a constant amount of fresh water available, we will need to become more innovative in managing it. Rainwater has long been neglected. We must get better at treating it as the resource it is, harvest it and use it wisely.


Going vegan

Did you know that it requires 15,500 litres of water to produce 1 kg beef? This can be contrasted to 180 litres for 1 kg tomatoes and 250 litres for 1 kg potatoes. If more consumers changed to less water intense diets and chose for example pulses, vegetables and grains over meat, a lot of water could be saved.


UN resolution

Close to two billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion people have no proper toilet to go to. In 2010, UN Resolution 64/292 stated that access to clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right. The resolution increases the pressure on world governments to provide the unserved with a tool to claim their rights


The tap

All over the world, women and girls spend several hours every day fetching water from distant water points. With a pipe that leads water into their house, and a tap attached, significant time will be freed up for these women and children to engage in other activities. Another important benefit with a tap is that it can be closed, thereby controlling a household’s water use and limiting potential water waste!


The waterless toilet

When the flushing toilet made its big breakthrough in the industrializing world in the late 1800’s, it revolutionized sanitation. But today, many agree that the toilet of the future must work without water. With our strained global water resources, it is a bad idea to use a relatively large amount of water to flush away a small amount of waste.


Sari as a water purifier

Contaminated water kills roughly two million people around the world every year. Through studies in India, scientist Rita Colwell discovered that Saris and other pieces of cloth can be used to filtrate water. A simple, cheap and handy way to remove bacteria from water!


From drain to drink

Wastewater has increasingly come to be perceived as a resource. Using today’s technique, water from our sinks and toilets can be made drinkable again. It can also be used in agriculture, for industry, and in the rehabilitation of natural ecosystems.


The well

In many societies around the world, the burden of collecting water falls on women and girls. Typically, they have to walk to water sources far away from the village several times a day, usually affecting their education. Installing a well closer to the village brings many benefits, for example that girls can to go to school instead of carrying water.



There is plenty of water on our planet – but as much as 97 percent is salty. Using desalination, it is possible to remove the salt and make sea water drinkable. In dry coastal areas, desalination can greatly improve water security.



The dam is a formidable tool for storing and controlling water to protect people from both droughts and floods. It can also be used for producing electricity. One dam can provide hundreds of thousands of households as well as industries with electricity, and alleviate poverty in a region or country.