Water Usage Statistics (2024)

Water Usage Statistics

Water consumption in the United States is an everyday aspect of life that often goes unnoticed. However, it plays a crucial role in our daily routines, finances, and environmental impact. In this article, we'll explore key topics and statistics about how much water Americans use, the costs involved, the biggest drivers of water usage, and how to reduce consumption.

Key Water Usage Statistics

  • On average, Americans use 82 gallons of water each day at home.

Americans use 82 gallons of water each day at home

  • Thermoelectric power (41%), irrigation (37%), and public supply (12%) account for 90% of the water consumption in the U.S.
  • The average family spends over $1,000 per year on water costs.
  • Household leaks can waste up to 180 gallons per week, or 9,400 gallons annually.
  • Water-efficient fixtures and appliances can reduce water consumption by at least 20%.

How Much Water Do Americans Use?

Americans use 82 gallons of water each day at home. In total, the U.S. consumes 322 billion gallons of water per day and the majority is used for irrigation, thermoelectric power, and public supply.

86% of the water consumed in the U.S. is fresh water. 16% of the water consumed in the U.S. is saline water which can be used for thermoelectric powerplant cooling and some industrial purposes. Saline water can only be used in limited capacities and can’t be drunk. The process of desalinating water so it can be used for drinking is costly. While used extensively in the Middle East, it isn’t as popular in the U.S.

What is the Largest Consumptive Use of Water in The U.S.?

Out of the 322 billion gallons of water the U.S. consumes, thermoelectric power (41%), irrigation (37%), and public supply (12%) account for 90%. Here’s a breakdown of water consumption in the U.S. by category.

Water Usage by Category in the United States

Public supply water consumption is greatest in areas with large population centers. Public supply systems deliver water for domestic use, industrial use, commercial use, and more.

Around 87% of the U.S. population gets their water for residential use from public supply systems. Other homeowners get water from self-supplied wells or other sources. Self-supplied domestic water withdrawals account for just 1% of the total water consumption in the U.S.

How Much Do Americans Spend on Water?

According to the EPA, the average family spends more than $1,000 per year on water costs. This translates to around $83 per month for families.

The cost of a water bill is largely dependent on the number of members in the household. Families typically have household water bills that are higher than single-member or two-member households. According to Wisevoter, the average national water bill in the U.S. is $39 per month.

  • States with the most expensive average monthly water bills are West Virginia ($91), California ($77), Oregon ($76), and Washington ($75).
  • States with the cheapest average monthly water bills are Vermont ($18), Wisconsin ($18), North Carolina ($20), and Louisiana ($21).

Water consumption is a major component of monthly utility bills. You may also be interested in the average electricity bill in the U.S.

Which Home Appliances Use the Most Water?

Toilets, showers, and faucets account for most of the water consumption at home. Here’s a breakdown of the appliances and fixtures that consume the most water for residential use.

Household Water Usage in the U.S.

  • Toilets in the average home use 33 gallons of water per day.
  • Showers and faucets account for 27 gallons each
  • Leaks cause of 18 wasted gallons of water every day.
  • More severe leaks can potentially waste up to 9,400 gallons of water annually. Leaks are also a primary cause of water damage.

How to Reduce Water Consumption

The EPA suggests that installing water-efficient fixtures and appliances can help reduce water consumption by 20%. Here are some more statistics from the EPA about reducing water consumption.

  • Nationwide, household leaks contribute to an estimated waste of nearly 900 billion gallons of water annually. This amount equals the yearly water consumption of nearly 11 million homes.
  • By running the dishwasher once a week instead of twice, a family can save 320 gallons of water annually. It’s best to only run the dishwasher when it is full.
  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and shaving can save about 5,700 gallons of water a year if you do it regularly.
  • Allowing the faucet to run for five minutes while washing dishes can squander 10 gallons of water and consume as much energy as a 60-watt light bulb running for 18 hours.
  • On average, outdoor water usage accounts for more than 30 percent of total household water consumption but can surge to as much as 60 percent in arid regions.
  • If the average-sized lawn in the United States is watered continuously for 20 minutes daily over seven days, it's equivalent to running a shower continuously for four days or taking more than 800 showers. This matches the water needed for a family to take showers for one year.
  • Up to 50 percent of outdoor water usage is lost due to wind, evaporation, and inefficient irrigation methods and systems. A household with a poorly maintained automatic landscape irrigation system can waste up to 25,000 gallons of water yearly. Better yet, homeowners could swich to xeriscaping.
  • When you hire a professional to work on your yard's water system, make sure they have a WaterSense certification. Good management can reduce irrigation water use by 15%, saving about 7,600 gallons annually, which is enough for 480 showers.

Conclusion

Water usage per person in the United States stands at 82 gallons a day, highlighting the need for prudent water management.

This consumption costs the average family over $1,000 annually on water-related expenses.

Implementing water-efficient fixtures and appliances can help reduce water consumption by at least 20%. By being aware of water usage, we can promote more responsible water practices and contribute to sustainable resource management for the future.

Sources

Environmental Protection Agency

ABC News

United States Geological Survey

Wisevoter

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