A Deep-Dive Look at Americans’ Water Consumption

When it comes to water usage, some things are easier to see. For example, you may have a pretty clear idea of how much goes into pouring out a glass of tap water. But, did you know that around 2,600 gallons of water goes into making a pair of jeans? Or that manufacturing a smartphone uses about 3,400 gallons of water?

When you boil it down, most of us aren’t always seeing the full impact we have when it comes to water. According to a recent survey conducted by Opinium on behalf of American Water, Americans underestimate daily direct and indirect water consumption by over 90 percent. In fact, Americans estimate using less than 100 gallons per person each day, while the actual number is over 2,000, according to Water Footprint Network.

With that in mind, the study also showed that 9 out of 10 Americans are likely to try at least one new habit to conserve water next year. In honor of Imagine a Day Without Water on October 21, we would like to offer some simple ways to do your part and reduce your water footprint.

Taking shorter showers.

The report found 56% of Americans are likely to try to incorporate shortening their showers to the length of two songs, but only 8% currently do it. An easy way to keep track can be listening to music while washing and finishing by the time two songs are complete.

Turning off the tap.

The most common, wasteful activity Americans do is leave the faucet on while brushing their teeth—the report found that 1 in 5 do this every day. Assuming people are brushing their teeth twice a day for a minute each time, this would waste 3 gallons of water each day or 1.5 gallons each minute. With 20% of U.S. adults doing this daily, that means around 149.9 million gallons of water are lost every day to this easily changeable task.

Using your dishwasher, but waiting for a full load.

Washing dishes by hand can actually be more wasteful as you let the tap run. Simply scraping off the food scraps — instead of rinsing — and loading up your dishwasher can save gallons of water. Additionally, gather a full load of dishes before you start the dishwasher. This can save an average of 320 gallons of water per week.

Waiting for a full load of laundry.

Being mindful of laundry habits can help clothes last longer and protect the planet. You can join 64% of Americans who are, according to the report, likely to try to incorporate waiting for a full load to do laundry into their daily lifestyle to conserve more water.

Using an automatic shut-off hose.

Because many people leave the hose running when washing their car at home, it is one of the most wasteful water activities. The report found Americans are doing this on average 2.6 times each month, which equates to 2,340 gallons of water lost per person per year. By adding an automatic shut-off nozzle to the end of your hose, you can save up to 5 gallons of water per minute.

Checking for and fixing leaks.

Leaks around the house make up a significant part of wasted water each year. Check out our tips for leak detection and prevention.

Watching your water bill.

Your water bill can be a tool to help keep you accountable. Each month, try to set a goal for reducing water use and check your progress on your next bill.

Following local water restrictions.

Implement smart water habits from the start. Use a water-smart irrigation system, pay attention to weather conditions, and take advantage of rain barrels. And, keep our outdoor water conservation tips in mind.

Investing in high-efficiency appliances and fixtures.

The report found 64% of Americans are likely to try to incorporate installing more eco-friendly appliances into their home to conserve more water, but only 7% currently do. So, if you’re in the market for new home appliances or fixtures, look for Energy Star certified models.

Although open to water-saving practices, Americans lose millions of gallons of water to wasteful habits. Share your knowledge about water efficiency and conservation with friends, family and neighbors. Even the smallest steps can go a long way.

American Water invites you to Imagine a Day Without Water and follow these tips to conserve such a precious and crucial resource. To learn more, visit amwater.com.