Are you aware of how much water your family uses? If not, the numbers may shock you. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), typical US households use around four hundred gallons of water daily. About 70% of that is used indoors, and most of that is used in the bathroom alone. Standard toilets use 1.6 gallons of water per flush, accounting for around 27% of daily usage. At this rate, most American households waste around 10,000 gallons of drinking water each year. This is enough water to fill a large garden pool. That’s a lot of drinking water!
When it comes to drinking water, obviously Americans do not use it simply to be consumed. In addition to drinking it, water is used to cook food, cleaning dishes and clothing, flushing toilets, and personal hygiene, like taking showers, shaving, and brushing teeth. If Americans continue to waste water at such a high rate, it’s just a matter of time before the source begins to dry up. For this reason, all households should start taking steps to conserve water. There are many ways to do so, and here are just a few of them.
Toilets are the largest use of water in most households. The most common modern toilets only use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. But older models often use twice this. To cut back on water usage, consider switching your toilets out for newer models. If you cannot afford this, a simple solution is to place a brick in the reservoir tank, taking up space, and only allowing the tank to refill so much.
When it comes to personal hygiene, people waste water in many ways. The average shower head before 1992 often exceeded 5 gallons of water per minute. Since then, most showers have an average flow rate of around 2.5 gallons per minute. At this rate, a 10 minute shower uses 25 gallons of water. If, in a 4 person household, each person only showers once daily, that accounts for 100 gallons of water used every day. So, how do you start conserving water? There are many ways. Duration is the easiest solution. If every person cuts their shower time in half to 5 minutes, that would save over 18,000 gallons of water every year. Another solution is to get a lower flow shower head. Aerated shower heads are available for as little as $20, and can cut your water usage by as much as 60%. If you want a more accurate way to measure how much water your shower is using, consider installing a flow meter. By knowing accurately how much water one uses, you can take the strides to lessen your waste.
If you have a small leak, the amount of water wasted can add up quicker than you think. For instance, a leak of just one drip per second will add up to over 1600 gallons of water wasted per year. Have all of your plumbing checked out, and fix or replace any leaky fixtures. Replace faucets with more efficient aerator faucets that will restrict the flow of water to less than a gallon a minute.
Replace all of your old appliances as well. Energy efficient models of dishwashers and clothes washing machines are available, and not only save you money on your water bill, but will save you electricity as well. There are also often government incentives when upgrading to energy efficient models, so look for information on the EnergyGuide label for more information.
Water is a precious resource that many Americans take for granted. By taking strides to conserve our drinking water now, we are ensuring ourselves to still have it in the future.