ISTANBUL -- Water, an element crucial to human existence, is becoming more and more scarce. From the bread we eat to the meat we consume, the global population is contributing to the depletion of the world's water resources, say experts at the 5th World Water Forum taking place in Istanbul, Turkey this week.

The Forum is bringing attention to practices of not only corporations, but also individuals that are increasingly depleting the earth's water supply, and it hopes to create a new era of awareness that will launch what the Forum calls "Worldwide Diet of Wasteful Water Consumption."

Virtual water consumption is a notion rarely recognized by the general population, but is a major factor impacting the world's water supply. Water that is embedded in food or other products, which is needed for their consumption, is referred to as "virtual water." Meat-eaters play a large role in the water shortage the world is quickly approaching, according to the experts.

"Water consumption is extremely high for meat due to its high-maintenance production cycle; one kilo (2.21 lbs.) of meat requires about 1600 liters of water. A vegetarian diet is much more water-friendly, as vegetable production requires less virtual water consumption," says Prof Dr. Ahmet Saatci, vice-secretary general of the 5th World Water Forum, the world's largest water event which brought together a record-breaking 28,000 participants this year.

"We use only a tiny portion of water resources for drinking (10 percent), but use an enormous amount of drinking-quality water on agriculture (70 percent). For example, one kilo (2.2lbs) of wheat requires 1000 liters of water to bring to harvest. We have to start utilizing reused waste-water for irrigation purposes to put a stop to the depletion of our water resources."

One of the world's leading experts on water issues, Saatci takes advantage of his own recycling system in his bathroom where he uses only recycled water for his toilet flush. He dreams of a world where everyone practices the "Wasteful Water Consumption Diet," and employs the user-friendly and cost-efficient water renewal technologies accessible to consumers, that he believes will save the lives of many suffering from water shortage.

"I want everyone to know that each time we refuse to buy a water-saving toilet, without a water recycling system, we are refusing to help a child in Africa dying from lack of access to a clean water source," says Saatci. "When each of us learns to live without wasting a drop, our planet may have a chance at survival."

Throughout the next week, the Forum will focus on water issues that include international discussions, political agenda and water sustainability.

SOURCE: World Water Forum via PR Newswire.