Let’s do a quick math problem. You have to calculate how much water I have stored in my wardrobe. I own 3 pairs of jeans & 10 cotton t-shirts. Now before I confuse you, hear me out. Making an average pair of jeans requires ~8000 litres, and a cotton t-shirt needs ~3000 litres. That’s 54,000 litres of water in my wardrobe. To put this into perspective, an average person drinks about 1000 litres of water per year. The answer to our little math problem is, I have 54 years' worth of water that I could drink, stored in my wardrobe.
The Textile & Fashion industry uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water per year which is enough water to meet the needs of 5 million people. The fashion industry is the second-biggest consumer of water. And the industry’s water footprint is expected to double by 2030.
You see, the high consumption of water doesn’t stop at the farm, during production, or during dyeing. Textiles use water during their entire lifespan. Water is used from the farm level to grow cotton and other natural fibres, all the way along the supply chain (e.g., to process fibres, dye and finish products) right to the end when customers use water to wash finished items. Cotton is a particularly thirsty crop, using thousands of litres per garment throughout the lifecycle.