How much water are you using this summer? (And how to use less)

Water is essential year-round, but during the summer we look to water to support even more of our daily activities. Becoming a wise water consumer is essential to protect our water sources and work towards a future where reliable access to drinking water won’t be threatened. The first step is understanding just how much water goes into our daily activities.

Today, on the first day of summer. Let’s take a look at which activities are impacting our overall water usage – especially those outside. It’s estimated that homeowners, depending on their region, use between 30 and 70 percent of their water outdoors, and a lot of it goes to waste. In fact, it’s estimated that 50 percent of the water we use outdoors goes to waste from evaporation, wind, or runoff due to overwatering.

Below are some popular water-using summer activities. Check them out to see how much more water you might be using during the hottest months of the year, and how to start conserving:

Have a swimming pool?

It’s a great way to cool off on a sweltering day, but it doesn’t come without some drawbacks. It takes about 18,000 gallons of water (you can calculate exactly how much here) to fill the average pool. If left uncovered, up to 1,000 gallons of water can be lost every month.

  • Cover the pool. By covering your pool, you can save 30 to 50 percent of the water that would have evaporated.
  • Leave the pool unheated. The energy used to heat a pool most likely comes from thermoelectric power plants, which use billions of gallons of water across the U.S. annually for their cooling systems

Car need to be cleaned?

Scrubbing down your car in the driveway also uses a lot of water. To get the average car clean with a hose can take about 100 gallons of water. Meanwhile, all of that dirt and grease that comes off of a car can run straight into the gutter that leads to local waterways.

  • Take it to the drive-thru car wash. Full-service, automatic car washes use far less water (somewhere between 15 to 60 gallons) and the runoff goes down a drain and into a wastewater treatment plant. Some companies even recycle the water they use.

Growing a garden?

Maintaining the health of an at-home garden can use a good amount of water. The entire surface of the garden—vegetables, fruit and flowers alike—needs about 1 inch of water per week. Luckily, you can avoid spraying that all out of the hose.

  • Use a rain barrel. A rain barrel can save you around 1,300 gallons of water for use outdoors during the peak summer months.

To continue improving your water conservation this summer, try calculating your water use and check out some of American Water’s tips for smarter water use during the summer.