For those who have already embraced a meat-free diet these findings may not be of much significance - you're already doing your bit - but those out there who are stuck in the 'must have meat every day' rut may soon start running around like (pardon the saying) headless chickens out of fear of what is ahead: a potential meat-free future.
This week leading water scientists have issued one of the most doomsday-like warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost fully to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid shortages.
By 2050 the world population is predicted to have reached 9 billion and in order to feed the additional 2 billion people expected to be alive then, humans may need to cut their protein consumption from animal-based products to 5% of their total daily calories. It is currently 20%.
"There will not be enough water available on current crop-lands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations," the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.
The forecasted water shortage in the near future can be combated by adopting a vegetarian diet; one third of the world's farmland is used to grow crops to feed animals, and five to ten times more water is used to produce animal protein-rich food compared to that of a vegetable diet.
Perhaps it is time for western countries to adopt a 'selective meat eating' way of life (eating only sustainably sourced meat and only once or twice a week at most) - or just ditch it all together and join the vegetarians of the world.