Water Usage in U.S. for Everyday Things

I did a short post on how much water is used to make some of the common foods most of us eat everyday. I got a great number of responses and that prompted me to write this post on understanding even further how much water we use in our daily lives, without even thinking about it.

This information comes from the article, “A Sea of Dollars” by Charles Fishman and the graphic “Water World” by Francesco Franchi in April’s paper edition of Fast Company:

  • The U.S. loses one gallon out of every six due to leaks in utility pipes.
  • In 1955 Americans used 1,460 gallons of water per person, per day. That number increased to 1,920 in 1980, and decreased to 1,360 in 2005.
  • Four out of 10 people in the world today have either zero access to clean water or have to walk to get it.
  • A typical half-liter bottle of water purchased in a store costs .99 cents. For .99 cents worth of tap water, you can refill your half-liter reusable water bottle 1,740 times from your faucet.
  • It takes five liters of water to produce 2 liters of Coca-Cola.
  • Each person in the U.S. uses 18.5 gallons of water a day just flushing the toilet. A four-person family uses 74 gallons a day to flush. The U.S. as a whole uses 5.7 billion gallons day in our toilets alone.
  • The U.S. uses more water in one day than it uses oil in one year.

- Jocelyn Broyles

Headline image © spettacolopuro on flikr.

Related Links:
If It’s Yellow, Let it Mellow: Why to Not Flush Your Pee
Water-Saving Tips


David Kristol
David Kristol6 years ago

I was using a lot of water for my home garden- I could tell from my water bill. I also wasn’t sure if I was watering the same consistent and appropriate amount to my plants. The first, easy step I took was to measure the amount of water I used. Although this seems obvious, it actually has made a huge difference. The product I’m using is:
There are other products on the market that do the same thing, but this one was relatively cheap and it gets the job done. See http://www.amazon.com/Hydro-Logic-Flowmaster-Flow-Meter/dp/B0033SW9IC/ref=pd_sbs_ol_5

Eternal Gardener
Eternal G6 years ago

OUCH!!! Luckily we've become more waterwise in Australia!

Howard Crosse
Howard Crosse6 years ago

Water is our most precious asset and yet we take it for granted.

caterina caligiuri

water is so precious...thanks for sharing *cat

Joanna Marie De Leon
Joanna d6 years ago

Is that so? Now I know. Thanks for sharing this info

Beth M.
Beth M6 years ago

I never knew...

DobieMax Wojcik
DobieMax WoBib6 years ago


Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Water is a very precious commodity!! Use it wisely!!

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B6 years ago

Shocking info.

Franco Di Palma
Franco Di Palma6 years ago

I live in a hot climate and use a lot of water each day watering newly planted landscaping. I don't use sprinklers I hand water every day bit I still feel it is way too much water.