What if someone told you, you could only use 7 gallons of water per day? What changes would you have to make? Could you do it? On average, residents use 50 to 100 gallons of water per day. The World Health Organization recommends two gallons per person daily to meet the requirements of most people under most conditions – and around 5 gallons per person daily to cover basic hygiene and food hygiene needs.
The good news is we do have enough water in this moment, on this day and into the foreseeable future. But this is not always the case. Water is a finite resource and the supplies on Earth today are no more than what was here at the beginning of the planet. It is up to all of us to use the water we have wisely, and can be as simple as each of us making small daily changes. Make conserving water a daily part of your life.
Here are some useful facts from National Geographic about water usage that are important to know when deciding how you can make a difference and conserve water in your home:
- 1994 was the year that federally mandated low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets started to appear on the scene in significant numbers.
- On average, 10 gallons per day of your water footprint (or 14% of your indoor use) is lost to leaks. Short of installing new water-efficient fixtures, one of the easiest, most effective ways to cut your footprint is by repairing leaky faucets and toilets.
- If you use a low-flow showerhead, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.
- Every time you shave minutes off your use of hot water, you also save energy and keep dollars in your pocket.
- It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are generally the more water-efficient way to bathe.
- All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. If you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save by retrofitting or filling your tank with something that will displace some of that water, such as a brick.
- Most front-loading machines are energy- and water-efficient, using just over 20 gallons a load, while most top-loading machines, unless they are energy-efficient, use 40 gallons per load.
- Nearly 22% of indoor home water use comes from doing laundry. Save water by making sure to adjust the settings on your machine to the proper load size.
- Dishwashing is a relatively small part of your water footprint—less than 2% of indoor use—but there are always ways to conserve. Using a machine is actually more water efficient than hand washing, especially if you run full loads.
- Energy Star dishwashers use about 4 gallons of water per load, and even standard machines use only about 6 gallons. Hand washing generally uses about 20 gallons of water each time.
Making a few changes in water usage can add up and make a difference. We all use water differently and have great ideas on how to conserve water. There are also many resources available to help you reduce your water usage. Good Luck!
For more information on conservation practices, please visit www.conservationminnesota.org.
Until the next Ripple Effect,
The Red River Basin Commission (RRBC)
The RRBC is a grassroots organization that is a chartered not-for-profit corporation under the provisions of Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota, and South Dakota law. Our offices in Moorhead, MN and Winnipeg, MB can be reached at 701-356-3183 and 204-982-7250, or you can check out our website at www.redriverbasincommission.org.