Ever wondered whether you use more or less water than the average person? And if so, how could you conserve water and reduce your spend?
Recent statistics show that the average US family of four pays about 72.93 U.S. dollars for water every month. So, if you’re spending much more than this, it’s likely that you’re using more, too.
Read on to learn the average residential water usage in the US, and how you can conserve more water.
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🏠 Residential Water Usage in the US: By The Numbers
According to a survey by the Water Research Foundation, the average daily water use can be broken down as follows:
These findings may surprise you. While it makes sense that toilets use the most water, you might not have realized just how significantly a leakage can contribute to your water bill.
Additionally the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the states with the most population growth had the highest average water usage in the past decade. Idaho’s population has increased by 27%, and the state has an average water usage of 151-200 gallons per person per day. Utah’s population has grown 33%, and the state has an average water usage of 151-200 gallons per person per day.
Average Water Usage Per Person, Per Day
The EPA has produced a report that indicates how many gallons of water the average person uses for a single appliance per day. Here are the key findings:
In the bathroom…
- Shower – 11.6 gallons pp (per person), pd (per day)
- Toilet – 18.5 gallons pp, pd
- Faucet – 10.9 gallons pp, pd
In the kitchen…
- Dishwasher – 1 gallon pp, pd
- Washing Machine – 15 gallons pp, pd
Of course, this is just the average figure, and will be affected by the size of your home and your number of bathrooms, and how many people live in your household. Environmental factors can also impact your water use.
You can use these daily averages to work out the average water use cost per person, per week, or per person, per month, for each appliance.
Here are the results for the average cost per person, per month:
In the bathroom…
- Shower – 348 gallons pp (per person), pm (per month)
- Toilet – 555 gallons pp, pm
- Faucet – 327 gallons pp, pm
In the kitchen…
- Dishwasher- 30 gallons pp, pm
- Washing Machine – 450 gallons pp, pm
If you want to work out the average cost per person, per year for each appliance, multiply these figures by 12.
🏞️ Environmental Factors That Impact Water Usage
There are a number of environmental factors that can affect just how much water we have access to. This might be difficult to believe, considering that about 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water. However, most of our natural water supplies are unsafe to drink, and aren’t always easy to access.
Two of the biggest environmental factors that can impact water usage are infrastructure problems and drought.
Old pipes supplying water to our homes may be made from lead, or else clogged with sediment or corroded. This can affect the speed and quality of water that is delivered through your faucets.
The cost of leaky water mains and old, crumbling pipes is staggeringly high – and the NRDC estimates that we lose about 2.1 trillion gallons of drinkable water in the US due to these issues every year.
Your home’s water pressure can be affected by even a relatively small leak in a pipe, especially if the pipe is closer to your home’s point of entry, and supplies all your appliances and faucets. This is because some of the water will end up leaking out of the pipe rather than flowing around your home.
Drought affects the amount of water in our local reservoirs, which, in turn, affects the amount of water that can be delivered to our homes, and how much comes out of our faucets. Millions of people around the world are affected by drought.
Our natural water consumption is responsible for increasing the frequency of drought by around 25% since 1960, according to reports. And the NRDC estimates that the cost of drought is second only to the cost of hurricanes, coming in at about $9.6 billion in loss and damage in a single event.
📌 Tips For Conserving More Water
If you want to cut down on your water use, whether for the benefit of the environment or your wallet, there are several ways that you can conserve water without rationing it.
A leak has the potential to waste gallons of water per day. An EPA report found that the average household leak is responsible for 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year. About 10% of homes were also found to waste at least 90 gallons of water per day.
It’s unsurprising, then, that fixing leaks is the number one water conservation act. It isn’t always your pipes themselves that are leaking. Listen for drips in your toilet or from your sink faucets. You could need to fix or replace your toilet’s flapper valve or plunger ball, or get a new washer for your faucets.
Leaking household appliances like dishwashers, refrigerators, washers, and hot water heaters can also waste gallons of water per year, but these can be trickier to fix yourself, and leaks can cause potential fire risks. It’s worth getting a professional to look at leaking appliances, rather than attempting to fix them yourself.
Replace Old Inefficient Appliances
Old dishwashers and washers can have a big impact on your annual water consumption. Even if you’re minimizing the wasted drinking water that comes out of your taps, if your appliances aren’t efficient, you’ll still end up wasting a lot of water.
If your appliances are more than 10 years old, consider replacing them with ENERGY STAR-rated appliances, which are designed to be more efficient and less wasteful. Look for washers and dishwashers with a low water factor, too, which means they use less water for every cycle.
Replace Old Fixtures
Toilets, showerheads and faucets are all generally more wasteful than newer models that are designed to minimize household water usage. Replacing old toilets with new designs can help you save more than 10,000 gallons per year, using less water for every flush.
Replacing old, leaking showerheads and taps can help you save both money and electricity costs. You can also save energy by installing WaterSense labeled showerheads, according to the EPA, as these showerheads will reduce the water used in showers and reduce demand on your household water heater, helping the average American family save up to 330 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
Turn Off Water While Washing Hands, Dishes & Brushing Teeth
An average of two gallons of drinking water flows out of a standard tap per minute. If you get into the habit of turning off the tap whenever you use water to brush your teeth, wash your hands or do your dishes, you can save between three and four gallons of drinking water in a single day. The average American family has the potential to save up to 1,000 gallons per year alone from this easy hack.
This solution is simple: only use water when you need it. Don’t leave the water running if you’re not holding your hands beneath it. This can help you cut down on how much water you use – and each drop adds up.
Water the Lawn Less or Xeriscape/Zeroscape It!
Watering your lawn can be responsible for thousands of gallons of water waste annually. If you live in a hot or dry region, the EPA estimates that your outdoor water use can peak at 60 percent.
It typically isn’t necessary to water your grass on a daily basis. If you step on your grass and it springs back when you take your foot away, it doesn’t need watering. Simply reducing your grass watering frequency by half will help you to achieve a good water saving in the long run.
An alternative is to xeriscape or zeroscape your lawn. Xeriscaping is the act of landscaping your garden in a way that reduces or even eliminates the need for watering. It’s estimated that installing xeriscapes in your garden can reduce your water use by 60 percent, compared to a typical grassy lawn.
Xeriscaping or zeroscaping gives you the chance to take on a creative outdoor project, and, when it’s complete, reap the rewards by saving money and water, and reduce your own labor required to maintain your garden.