The U.S. Geological Survey reports average water usage among Americans to be 80 to 100 gallons of water a day. Ridiculous, right? Not so much when you break it down. Here’s how somebody could easily reach that amount on a given day. Meet Lucy. She’s a 27-year-old homeowner in San Antonio with a 9-5 office job.
Morning 8 a.m.
Lucy starts her morning with an eight-minute shower (an average length of time) and two minutes of teeth brushing, the minimum recommended by dentists. Before heading out to her commute, she fills up her water bottles for the day to ensure she gets in her daily recommended 64 ounces and takes a quick bathroom break.
Water Used: 20.1 gallons – Lucy’s work day hasn’t begun yet, but she has used 25% of what many average American use a day. Because her appliances are newer and more water-efficient, her shower only uses two gallons of water a minute, and her toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush. She uses two gallons of water brushing her teeth.
Workday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Lucy eats her breakfast at her desk and works until lunchtime. Per her normal routine, she takes an hour off and reads a book under a tree at the park across the street. Throughout her day, Lucy has used the restroom five times (remember the drinking water she packed) and washed her hands 8 times. At 6 on the dot, Lucy is ready to hit the road and begin her relaxing evening at home.
Water Used: 25.0 gallons (45.1 total) – The building Lucy works in is old, with toilets that use four gallons per flush. Does she sound a little obsessive over germs? Not so much. More than half of Americans wash their hands 10+ times a day.
Evening, 7 p.m. to bedtime
Lucy takes advantage of the cool evening air and waters her front lawn for 20 minutes. She cooks a nice spaghetti meal before settling into her Netflix queue. She gets up a couple of times throughout the night to use the restroom. Before going to bed she brushes her teeth, washes her face and uses the restroom one more time. She’s washed her hands another few times since she’s been home.
Water Used: 61 gallons (106.1 total) – Lucy waters her modestly-sized lawn three times a week, which gives her grass the recommended an inch a week. She used three gallons of water to boil her spaghetti and rounded out her average 10 hand washes a day by washing her hands a few more times – before cooking, after eating, and after each time she used the restroom.
Survey Says – Believe It
Lucy easily used 106.1 gallons of water in a day. Here are some ways she and you can help keep the number down:
- She’s already doing a good job showering instead of taking baths every day. A full tub of water is on average 36 gallons.
- If Lucy turns off the faucet while brushing her teeth, she can save almost four gallons of water a day.
- Outdated appliances are water-guzzlers. Old showers use five gallons a minute, compared to two gallons for newer models. Save up to 2.4 gallons a flush using a water-efficient toilet, 10 gallons a cycle using a new dishwasher and 20 gallons a cycle using a new washing machine.