Recently I came across a figure: running a tap for 5 minutes represents the same power consumption as running a 60 watt bulb for 14 hours. Unfortunately I have lost the source for that.
But today I get a figure from the Energy Saving Trust. "The energy needed to treat and pump mains water to our homes, and to collect and treat waste water from the sewage network, is responsible for nearly 1% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions."
OK. The UK Carbon Footprint Project says: The UK's carbon footprint is over 500* million tonnes of CO2 per year. 1% of 500 is 5, so the embodied CO2 in our annual water is 5,000,000 tonnes, right? or 5 trillion grammes? (Correct me if I'm wrong, I am poor at sums).
Now, Water UK says "Each day the UK water industry collects, treats and then supplies more than 17 billion litres of high quality water to domestic and commercial customers and then collects and treats over 16 billion litres of the resulting wastewaters, returning it safely to the environment."
So 33,000,000,000 litres a day, or 12,012,000,000,000 litres a year. Divide CO2 in grammes by volume of water in litres to get number of grammes of CO2 per litre, right?
= 0.42 grammes CO2 per litre.
In fact, 1 litre of tap water is about twice that, 0.8 grammes CO2, say, since once it's out of the tap, most of it has to be dealt with as sewage. Of course, sewage also picks up some rain water runoff.
I should now go and check this against the thing of 5 minutes tap run = 14 hours of a 60watt bulb, but I need to go and have a little lie down after all this calculation.
Anyway, it all goes to prove that we shouldn't poo in our drinking water.