Information Source – Erin Ling, M.S., Virginia Household Water Quality Program, Virginia Master Well Owner Network, Biological Systems Engineering at Virginia Tech, 400 Seitz Hall (0303), Blacksburg, VA 24061.  Contact at 540.231.9058.  E-mail –  wellwater@vt.edu.  Websites – www.wellwater.bse.vt.edu.

Fun Facts:

  • Yearly Fix-a-Leak Week!  March 18th -24th.  Every drop counts!  More than 1 trillion gallons of water LEAK from US homes each year.  For more information, access this website – http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/fix_a_leak.html
  • Here is more information about water leaks in the home – http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/fixleak.html
  • One in 10 American homes has a leak that wastes more than 90 gallons per DAY!
  • Water is very available in the U.S. and it CHEAP right now.  The U.S. national average cost of tap water is about $2 per 1000 gallons ($.002 per gallon).  (GWC -Perhaps this is why U.S. citizens are so wasteful.)
  • If all Earth’s water could be placed into a one-gallon jug, the amount of this water representing fresh water, available for us to use, would equal about 1 tablespoon!



(Answers are provided at the bottom.)

  • How much water does the average American family use around the home per day?
  • How much water does the average sub-Saharan African use per day?
  • Is fresh water a renewable resource?
    • A renewable resource is any natural resource that can be replenished naturally with time.
    • A finite amount of fresh water exists, and it can be used over and over again when processed through water cycle.
    • Fresh water is not evenly distributed across the globe.
    • Not all contaminants in fresh water can be easily or cheaply removed from water.


Distribution of the Earth’s Water:

Earth's Water Distribution


Where Is Water Used In The Home? 

Where Water Used




  • Check for leaks by putting food coloring in the tank
  • Reduce flushes per day –
    • 1 less flush per person in the US would save enough water to create a lake one sq. mile and 4 feet deep every day!
  • Upgrade!  Old toilets are about 3-8 gallons per flush.  New ones are about 1.6 gallons per flush.  Upgrading will save 14,000 to 17,000 gallons a year per household.
  • Install toilet tummy, bricks, or 2 liter bottle in tank (for old toilets)

Shower and BathShower

  • Get a timer!  Reduce time spent in shower
  • Install a low-flow shower head (2.5 gallons per minute or less)
  • Bathe small kids together
  • Reconsider baths which require about 36-50 gallons each!



  • KitchenNew dishwashers work well!  Don’t wash the dishes before loading the dishwasher!
  • Run dishwasher only when full.
  • Faucets –
    • Fix Leaks!  One drip per second wastes 2,700 gallons per year!
    • Install low-flow aerators in shower heads.
    • Turn it off when not in use.
  • Compost instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • Use as little water as possible when cooking – steam instead of boiling.


  • LaundryConsider purchasing HE model (about 23 gpm instead of 40).
  • Use cold setting and detergent when possible.
  • Pre-treat stains to avoid re-washing.
  • Only wash full loads or adjust load size setting on machine.
  • Air dry if possible (engery savings, not water).



  • Check for leaks – hoses, sprinklers, etc.
  • Use the broom instead of a hose to clean areas, such as the driveway.
  • Take your car to a carwash that recycles water.
  • Install more permeable surfaces, such as pavers and bricks.
  • Use a rain-barrel water for plants and gardens.



  • Spread the awareness of water as a valuable resource!  Speak to your children about it, serve as a good example, and speak up when you see ways that your community can conserve water
  • Calculate your water footprint: http://www.waterfootprint.org
  • Achieve Water Conservation
    • Change Your Habits
      • Little or no cost
      • Quick effect
      • Sometimes temporary…..
    • Buy Water-Saving Appliances or fixtures
      • Can be expensive
      • Most easily installed
      • Very effective
      • Often permanent



Slow Motion DropQ:  How much water does the average American family use around the home each day?   A:  More than 300 gallons!  Americans consume water at twice the average of our industrialized counterparts!  The average American uses 70-90 gallons of water each day.

Q:  How much does the average European use?  A:  50 gallons.  

Q:  How much water does the average sub-Saharan African use per day?  A:  3-5 gallons. 

Your “Water Footprint” represents ALL of the water that you use – both directly and indirectly.  Water that you use “directly” is liquid water.  Water you use “indirectly” is that used to make all of the products you consume.   Q:  Including products consumed, how much water does an average American use per year?  A:  660,000 gallons.  That is enough to fill an Olympic-sized  swimming pool!

Q:  How much water does it take to make one automobile?  A:  Over 40,000 gallons.  (That’s why it’s a big deal when an auto manufacturing plant says it recycles all of the water it uses to use again at the same plant — that’s a big deal!)  

Q:  How much water does it take to grow or make….

  • One pound of sugar?       A:    475 gallons
  • One pound of rice?          A:    660 gallons
  • One gallon of milk?         A:     264 gallons
  • One pound of  of beef?    A:  4070 gallons

Q:  How much more expensive is bottled water than tap water?   A:  Bottled water costs the the buyer about 200 times more than tap water!