Household Water Conservation

The following chart provides an estimate of typical household water consumption and savings based on use by a family of four people.  In the United States, a single family household is estimated to use approximately 100 gallons of water per person per day, of which about 70 gallons are for indoor use.  However, the amount of water each household actually uses can varies according to factors such as age and efficiency of plumbing fixtures and appliances, family size and household income.

Water
Use

Percent of Indoor Use

Average Use (gals/day/
person)

No
Reduction
gals/day

20%
Reduction
gals/day

30%
Reduction
(gals/day)

40% Reduction
(gals/day)

Toilets

27

18.5

74

59

52

44

Washing Machine

22

15

60

48

42

36

Showers

17

11.6

45

37

32

27

Faucets

16

10.9

44

35

31

26

Other Household Uses

4

3.5

14

11

10

8

Leaks

14

9.5

38

***

***

***

Water savings
per household

   

0 gallons

71 gallons

94 gallons

120 gallons

Water savings per household
(includes leak
repairs)***

   

0 gallons

109 gallons

132 gallons

158 gallons

(Source: Amy Vickers and Associates)

Strategies for Reducing Household Water Use

Below are a few suggestions on how you can reduce your household water use for each of the major indoor water uses identified above.

Toilets: The amount of water used per flush varies depending on the size of the toilet tank.  To determine the size of your tank, simply remove the lid and read the volume printed inside.  To conserve water, add a full plastic water bottle to your tank; the volume displaced by the bottle will equal the volume of water saved each time you flush.

Washing Machines: An easy way to reduce water used for laundry by 50 percent is to wear clothing items twice before washing them.   Additionally, only wash full loads and look for Energy Star appliances which use at least 20 percent less water when replacing machines.

Showers: Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower and save even more water by turning off the flow while lathering.

Faucets: Installing a faucet aerator is an easy and effective way of saving water without changing water pressure or performance.   Aerators are inexpensive and relatively simple to install.

Leaks: Read your water meter both before and after an hour of not using any water in your home.  If a change is registered by your meter, you have identified a leak.  A likely source may be a toilet -- approximately 20 percent of toilets leak.  To check for leaks, add a drop of food coloring to the water in the toilet tank.  If color appears in the bowl after a few minutes you have discovered a leak which needs repair.