Water in the Home & Yard
We use water for cooking, cleaning, laundry, washing dishes, showering, brushing our teeth, and we even flush it. We also rely on water to keep our yards looking nice, whether we water flower beds or a lawn. Some of us even have a home garden, where we rely on water to grow fruits and vegetables. Water plays a vital role in our lives, and we use it regularly, so it is pretty hard to imagine our lives without it.
Why Save Water?
On average, each American uses 88 gallons of water per day at home. We can all use 20 percent less water by installing water efficient appliances in our homes. An alternative to watering your lawn or flower bed may be to install a rain barrel at home that collects rainwater. The rainwater can then be used to water flowers or lawns.
According to the EPA, the average family spends more than $1,000 per year in water costs, but can save more than $380 annually from retrofitting with WaterSense labeled fixtures and ENERGY STAR certified appliances.
According to a 2014 Government Accountability Report, 40 out of 50 state water managers expect water shortages under average conditions in some portion of their states over the next decade. If water use continues to increase over time as a result of an increasing population, this could mean even more shortages.
- The average family can waste 180 gallons per week, or 9,400 gallons of water annually, from household leaks. That’s equivalent to the amount of water needed to wash more than 300 loads of laundry.
- Household leaks can waste approximately nearly 900 billion gallons of water annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of nearly 11 million homes.
- Running the dishwasher only when it’s full can eliminate one load of dishes per week and save the average family nearly 320 gallons of water annually.
- Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save 8 gallons of water per day and, while shaving, can save 10 gallons of water per shave. Assuming you brush your teeth twice daily and shave 5 times per week, you could save nearly 5,700 gallons per year.
Outdoor water use:
- Letting your faucet run for five minutes while washing dishes can waste 10 gallons of water and uses enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 18 hours.
- Outdoor water use accounts for more than 30 percent of total household water use, on average, but can be as much as 60 percent of total household water use in arid regions.
- If the average sized lawn in the United States is watered for 20 minutes every day for 7 days, it’s like running the shower constantly for 4 days or taking more than 800 showers. That’s equivalent to the amount of water needed for the average family to take 1 year’s worth of showers.
- As much as 50 percent of the water we use outdoors is lost due to wind, evaporation, and runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems. A household with an automatic landscape irrigation system that isn’t properly maintained and operated can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water annually.
- When hiring a professional to install or audit your landscape irrigation system, be sure he or she is certified by a WaterSense labeled irrigation program. If the system is well managed, a household’s irrigation water use can be reduced by 15 percent, or nearly 7,600 gallons of water, annually. That’s the amount of water needed to take 480 showers.