Is Water a Renewable Resource?

Updated: Sep 18, 2019

Cotton is the most common natural fiber used to make clothing, and represents approximately 33 percent of all fibers found in textiles. Cotton is also a very thirsty crop, which requires 2,700 liters of water, which a person drinks in two and a half years, to make a cotton shirt. In areas that already face water stress, cotton production can be particularly damaging.

In Central Asia, for example, the Aral Sea has almost disappeared because cotton growers excessively extract the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. Cotton cultivation is also responsible for 24 percent of insecticides and 11 percent of pesticides, although about 3 percent of the world's arable land is used.

The use of water and pollution also take place during the production of clothing. About 20 percent of industrial water pollution is due to the manufacture of garments, while the world uses 5 trillion liters (1.3 trillion gallons) of water each year to dye fabrics alone, enough to fill 2 million Olympic size swimming pools.

Sources WWF & World Resources Institute