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Families Learn How Much Water Thanksgiving Meal Requires

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Drexel sophomore Kathryn Woolf. (credit: John Ostapkovich)

Drexel sophomore Kathryn Woolf. (credit: John Ostapkovich)

John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
John Ostapkovich brings humor and wit, and a wealth of experience...
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center has a temporary exhibit showing the “water footprint” of a traditional Thanksgiving feast. For some dishes, it’s a lot more than you might think.

Drexel sophomore Kathryn Woolf, working coop in environmental education at the Center, collected and crunched numbers on holiday dishes, not quite soup to nuts, but turkey to pumpkin pie.

“It’s not just how much water it would take to cook the turkey on Thanksgiving or to cook the green beans on Thanksgiving but how much it takes to grow them, or how much water the turkey drinks,” Woolf says. “It’s so much more consuming.”

Much more indeed, although the turkey comes in at a paltry 24 gallons. The pie, 234 gallons.

The real guzzlers are a can of cranberry sauce, at 1,559 gallons (keep in mind, cranberry bogs), one gallon of apple cider at nearly 1500 and a bowl of mashed potatoes at a swimming pool sized 2,528 gallons.

Thirsty, those spuds.

The point, by the way, is not guilt, but awareness of the sometimes unseen impact of fresh water.

“Just to get them to think about how water is used in so many ways,” Woolf says, “to drink, how they use it to shower, how they use it to wash their hands, but then how their food uses it to grow, how water is just so neccesary in everything we do.”

It’s enough to make you need a glass of wine (86 gallons of water to the bottle).

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