Wonderwater Café is a pop-up event exploring the relationship between food and water consumption. Designed to raise awareness of the water footprint, it aims to make us think about the impact of what we eat on local and global water use.
Wonderwater Cafe London
Wonderwater Cafe London launches at Leila’s Shop during London Design Festival. Visitors will be able to enjoy a mouth-watering selection of responsibly sourced food, while digesting information from the vibrant infographics and dynamic visual displays, all of which convey mind-blowing facts about the water footprint of their meals.
During Wonderwater Cafe London, Euan Hind from King’s College London ran a pilot of The Wonderwater Workshop with children from the local Virginia Primary School. The concept of the water footprint was introduced and the amount of water taken to produce certain foods was demonstrated. The children engaged in a series of specially designed activities and games which communicated how the water footprint is applicable to their lives.
How Much Water Do You Eat?
Agriculture is by far the largest slice of global water so what we choose to eat really can make a difference. It’s not necessarily about the size of the water footprint but looking behind the figures to understand where water comes from and whose water we are using for what. Does chocolate or coffee, a fruit or vegetable, grain or meat have its water footprint in a region where water is scarce? Is it draining resources from local communities? Armed with the right information we can choose food that has a relatively low water footprint or that has its footprint in a region of the world that doesn’t have high water scarcity.
The water footprint is a new but increasingly important tool for understanding our water consumption. We use large amounts of domestic water for washing, drinking and cooking, but considerably more water for producing food, paper, cotton and almost every other physical product we consume. In Finland the daily domestic water use per person is 150 litres, while the total daily water footprint, including water used in the production of food and products consumed, amounts to 3,873 litres per person. Agriculture accounts for a massive 92% of the global water footprint, so diet is by far the biggest slice of an individual’s footprint.
Wonderwater Café on tour
The first Wonderwater Café took place in Beijing Design Week 2011. Wonderwater Café Kiasma ran from 22 May – 16 September at Café Kiasma in the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art and the most recent incarnation of the project Wonderwater Cafe London was hosted by Leila’s Shop in Shoreditch during London Design Festival 2012.
Wonderwater Café Kiasma
Wonderwater Café Kiasma at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art in Helsinki invited diners to discover the water footprint of dishes from the Café Kiasma menu. Did diners choose the Cured Elk salad, with a relatively low water footprint due to the wild game meat, or satisfy their sweet tooth with a pudding flavored with cinnamon from water scarce Israel?
Curated by Jane Withers & Kari Korkman. Produced by Luovi. Design by Studio Emmi. Water experts: Miina Porkka,Water & Development Research Group, Aalto University.
Wonderwater Café at Tian Hai, Beijing
During Beijing Design Week 2011 Wonderwater took over Tian Hai, a restaurant in Beijing’s historic Dashilan district , and together with Aalto University produced the first Wonderwater Café menu illustrating the breakdown of the water footprint of Tian Hai’s most popular dishes and staples such as rice, tea and beer. Diners were provoked to consider how much water their food took to produce, by being asked to decide between dishes with an astronomically high water footprint such as ‘Hang a Heat of Roast Duck’ or those with a much lower water consumption like ‘Persimmon Soup’.
Curated by Jane Withers & Kari Korkman. Produced by Aalto University. Design by Iina-Karoliina Välilä & Tiina Koivusalo.
Water experts: Matti Kummu & Miina Porkka, Water & Development Research Group, Aalto University.
© Photos Matthew Wei