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Conserving Water

Average Household Water Usage

The water industry estimates that an average person uses 3,000 gallons of water monthly, so a family of 4 would use 12,000 gallons, for bathing, cooking, washing, recreation and watering. But a lot of factors come into play when calculating average use so, in reality, one person's usage may be a lot higher or lower than another person's. One toilet flush will use 5 to 7 gallons unless it is in a new home where 1.5 gallon commodes are required.

Households with lawns or gardens must factor in the amount of water sprinkled on grass, flowers and vegetables. Outdoor watering uses 5 to 10 gallons per minute. So in 10 or 20 minutes, you may use 100 gallons - the amount industry experts estimate is used by an average person each day for all personal water needs! If the climate turns unseasonably dry, expect to use even more water to keep your garden alive and your grass green.

If you take a tub bath, you will use about 36 gallons of water, compared with the 25 to 50 gallons required for a shower. New showerheads, however, reduce the water used in an average shower to just 2 gallons per minute versus 5 or 6 gallons that spurt out of older showerheads.

How to Cut Household Water Usage

Fix any drippy faucets in your home. To fix a drippy faucet, you may simply need to tighten the screws on the top of the handle or replace the washer. Check your toilet bowl for leaks as well. You could also install a shower head that can be turned off while you are shaving and then turned back on when you are finished.

Purchase large trash containers and place them under the downspouts of your gutters. The water that you catch in these buckets can be used to water outdoor plants. Wash your car at a coin operated car washing establishment. You are less likely to waste water if you must complete washing your car within a set time.

Start reducing the water consumption by using soaker hoses or drip irrigation systems for lawns, trees and shrubs. Keep your yard healthy - dethatch, and use mulch. Instead of using a hose to wash the drive, use an outdoor vacuum cleaner or leaf blower.

EPA's WaterSense program helps conserve water for future generations by providing information on products that save water without sacrificing performance.