The Water Wager [INFOGRAPHIC]
The average American family uses hundreds of gallons of water each day. How much are you willing to give up by betting with water? Here we’ll take a look at the true cost of neglecting water conservation.
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Water Statistics: How do we use water?
- The U.S. uses 410 billion gallons of water each day.
- Water is used for everything: domestic uses, agriculture, cooling database servers, cooling nuclear power plants, making steel, etc.
- 65% of drinking water comes from rivers and streams.
- 5% of total U.S. freshwater withdrawals as of 2005 went to thermoelectric power, and 37% went to irrigation. Only 8.5% went to domestic usage.
- At home, the average American family uses 300 gallons per day.
- 70% goes to indoor uses; 30% goes to outdoor uses, but that can be higher in drier parts of the nation (up to 60%).
- 7% of domestic water usage goes to washing clothes; 26.7% goes to flushing toilets.
- 7% is lost through leaks – or roughly 10 gallons.
Why does water conservation matter?
- 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water.
- But less than 1% is available for use by humans.
- 40 of the 50 U.S. state water managers expect water shortages during average conditions in portions of their respective states over the next 10 years.
- The average American household spends $500 on water and sewer bills annually.
What am I risking by not conserving?
- If all U.S. homes installed water-saving features (e.g. low-flow toilets and fixed leaks), water usage would drop by 3%.
- This could save 5.4 billion gallons each day – that translates to $11.3 million per day, or $4 billion per year.
- With water efficient fixtures, the average American could save $170 or more each year on water and sewer bills.
- By not conserving, we risk water depletion. Planet-wide water demands will increase by 40% over the next ten years.
- By 2025, two thirds of the global population will live in regions that are affected by water scarcity.
- Here in the U.S., we’ve increased reliance on underground aquifers. These aquifers, however, can run out. In Kansas, for example, increased usage of the Ogallala Aquifer will cause farming in the area to peak and begin declining in 2040 due to water depletion.
- Extreme drought in many states – like Oregon, which lists 32.7% of the state as experiencing severe drought; 67.3% experiencing extreme drought – will only make water scarcity worse.
- The drought in California has cost the state $2.7 billion in 2015 alone.
How can I conserve?
- By installing a low-flow showerhead, a person can save 15 gallons for ever 10-minute shower.
- A low-flow toilet can save several gallons per flush.
- Top-loading washers use 40 gallons per load; a front-loading one uses only 20.
- By not covering an outdoor pool, hundreds of gallons can be lost each month due to evaporation.
- Shower instead of bathing – a bath requires 70 gallons.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveway – could save up to 80 gallons during each cleaning.
- A five-minute shower can save 1,000 gallons each month.
- Eat less beef. It takes 16,000 liters to produce one pound of beef.