According to the World Health Organization, there are 1.1 billion people, or 18 percent of the world’s population, who lack access to safe drinking water. About 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation. As North Americans, we are among the highest consumers of water in the world. As you look at the following statistics for typical household water consumption in Canada, and suggestions for water conservation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, consider what you might do to cut down on wasting water.
Typical Household Water Consumption:
- Toilet flush: 4-5 gallons (15-19 L)
- Tub bath: 16 gallons (60 L)
- 5-minute shower (standard showerhead): 26.5 gallons (100 L)
- 5-minute shower (low-flow showerhead): 50 L
- Automatic dish washing: 40 L
- Dish washing by hand: 35 L
- Hand washing (with the tap running): 8 L
- Brushing teeth (with the tap running): 10 L
- Washing machine: 225 L
- A single lawn sprinkler spraying 19 L per minute uses more water in just one hour than a combination of ten toilet flushes, two 5-minute showers, two dishwasher loads and a full load of clothes.
- High-efficiency washing machines can conserve large amounts of water. Traditional models use between 102 and 204 L of water per load, but new, energy- and water-conserving models (front-loading or top-loading, non-agitator ones) use less than 102 L per load.
- Washing the dishes with an open tap can use up to 75.7 L of water, but filling the sink or a bowl and closing the tap saves 37.9 of those liters.
- Keeping a pitcher of water in the refrigerator saves time and water instead of running the tap until it gets cold.
- Not rinsing dishes prior to loading the dishwasher could save up to 37.9 L per load.