START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good

How Much Water Do YOU Use?

How Much Water Do YOU Use?

The planet is covered in blue stuff, but as the old saying goes: “water, water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.” Globally, water needs are outstripping supply, even as potable water is being contaminated, complicating matters even further. Since we need water to survive, it’s becoming a critical issue in many regions of the world, from California, where people are struggling with a drought, to Britain, which practically drowned in floods earlier this year.

Ask the average American how much water she uses, and she won’t have a very good idea. A recent study took a look at perceptions of water use, looking at how much people estimate they use and comparing it against actual use. The researchers found that people underestimate their water use pretty dramatically. How much? By about 50%, as it turns out. People also have uncertain perceptions of the level of impact caused by various activities, including bathing, washing clothes, cooking, swimming, and more; in other words, despite substantial outreach campaigns from nonprofits and government agencies, many people struggle to understand water use.

Guess what? 70% of your personal water use is accounted for under your own roof, says the EPA, and of that, well…guess which household activity uses up the most water? We try not to talk about it around here, but it’s flushing the toilet, which accounts for a whopping 27% of indoor water usage.

The study also shows that people don’t understand the best ways to cut down on water use. Many people are under the impression that they need to change their personal habits to do right for the planet, which is definitely a step, but it’s not the most efficient way to keep household water usage down. Unfortunately, many groups have promoted the individual action approach, to the exclusion of educating people about the real way to cut down on water use: revamp the plumbing.

Toilets in particular are a real problem, because many older models use significant volumes of water per flush, and they really don’t need to. In regions like Europe, many people are using dual flush toilets, which allow you the option of selecting between a small or big flush, depending on the level of need. Furthermore, their toilets use less water either way, cutting down overall on household water use related to flushing the toilet.

Similar efficiency moves are important for washers and dishwashers. It’s not just enough to make sure they’re never run with partial loads and the right cycle is selected (although this is a good idea). It’s also important to upgrade to equipment that will actually use less water, and is designed to operate as efficiently as possible. These are steps that don’t involve any changes in your routine, but make a huge difference in your water usage habits.

If you still want a habit to change, though, you’re in luck: stop running water and waiting for it to get hot before you wash your hands. Washing with cool water is actually more effective, and far less wasteful. Not only will you save water, you’ll also cut your HVAC costs!

Katie Marks writes for This article originally appeared here.

Photo: rickpilot_2000/Flickr.

Read more: Bed & Bath, Conservation, Eco-friendly tips, Green, Home, , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Selections from Networx empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.


+ add your own
1:55AM PST on Feb 22, 2015

thanks for sharing :)

12:00PM PDT on Apr 27, 2014

Nothing new but thanks.

11:02AM PDT on Mar 24, 2014

Can t live without water

11:44AM PDT on Mar 21, 2014

Thank you Networx, for Sharing this!

3:31PM PDT on Mar 20, 2014


7:56AM PDT on Mar 20, 2014


8:38AM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

Thanks for this article.

1:16AM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

I'm doing my best but do go through a lot of water in the summer to water the plants-veggies etc...

5:27PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

Thanks for sharing. I try to remeber every day :)))

2:40PM PDT on Mar 16, 2014

Thank you.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

going for a walk in the woods will not only exercise your body but your mind because of the beauty w…

Glad to see eggs on the list. The yolk is one of the very rare natural sources of Vitamin B12. It …

Thank you. Might be worth checking the label if you want to avoid GMOs, which a lot of US-supplied s…


Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.

site feedback


Problem on this page? Briefly let us know what isn't working for you and we'll try to make it right!