A few days ago the internet was abuzz with shocking headlines because the gentleman behind 'virtual water', professor John Anthony Allan of King’s College London, got an award from a water conservation group
, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) for his work on advocating water conservation. Reading the news clippings about it, you'd have thought it was a Nobel prize for perpetual motion.
Perpetual motion is a good analogy. Generally, if you see something too ridiculous to be true, it's probably not true. A few weeks ago, for example, a VA Tech grad student got a prize for a 'gravity lamp'
that was just the kind of alcohol-and-magic-fueled hocus-pocus that sets the internet on fire. It was green energy and cool tech all rolled into one. Except it didn't exist.
Rather than being able to power a household bulb for hours, even an unsuitably-large one could only power a tiny 0.1-watt LED for 45 minutes. It's just physics.
So a few days ago people were aghast and outraged when they saw a number stating that 34 gallons of 'virtual water' went into a cup of coffee. I understand their panic. That means we only have about 9,588,235,294,117,647 cups of coffee left before all the water is gone.(1)