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Water Consumption: Tips & Tricks

Water is an everyday essential, which means monitoring your usage of it is crucial (and environmentally conscious). By maintaining a thoughtful awareness of your day-to-day usage, you can create a drastic impact both inside and beyond your own household. This is where water consumption comes into play. The definition of water consumption “is the portion of water use that is not returned to the original water source after being withdrawn” (Reig, 2013). Instead, “Consumption occurs when water is lost into the atmosphere through evaporation or incorporated into a product or plant,” making it “no longer available for reuse” (Reig, 2013). So, why is this important? Here’s some closer insight as to what water consumption is and why you should be aware of it. 

Being aware of water consumption is vital, as it “is particularly relevant when analyzing water scarcity and the impact of human activities on water availability” (Reig, 2013). As stated previously, we rely on water every single day of our lives.

Knowing and understanding the impact of our water usage is dire, seeing as it is one thing we cannot live without. “Water consumption estimates help gauge the impact of water use on downstream water availability” (Reig, 2013). These estimates assist in determining how much water we have and how much we need to regulate to get back to a state of homeostasis or balance. 

In terms of domestic water usage, the standard household “uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home[, and] Roughly 70 percent of this use occurs indoors” (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). This water usage ranges from the bathroom to the kitchen, demonstrating that we are constantly using water all day long. This further supports the need for awareness of our day-to-day usage. This number will increase if we account for the water used for washing, watering lawns, or waste disposal (Water Quality Association, n.d.).

We use several hundreds of gallons a day, and it doesn’t come cheap. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “The average family spends more than $1,000 per year in water costs” (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). Unfortunately for homeowners, they “have to pay for sewage,” which is around $84 a month, making renting a house that much more appealing (Water Quality Association, n.d.). 

These are simply estimates, but the best way to know your water consumption is through your water bill, as it will not only show the amount due but how much water you used (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2017). Everyone’s water bill is unique to their property and lifestyle.

Once you know these details, you’ll be able to budget out how much water you’d like to use and create a plan. Finding and navigating what works best for your household should be a top priority, as there’s a good chance you’ll be able to maneuver a way to spend less money. 

While some of the ways we use water are within our control, there are also environmental factors that come into play when discussing water consumption. These factors are out of our control yet still have a high potential for increasing one’s water bill. The biggest contributor to this issue is droughts, which are “period[s] of dryness” typically more prolonged (Miriam- Webster, n.d.). During these drought periods, “many areas increase their reliance on groundwater,” which “provides more than 40 percent of the water used for U.S. agriculture and domestic water supplies” (National Integrated Drought Information System, n.d.).

As a result, pumping is increased during droughts, which can ultimately “reduce the future availability of those supplies” (National Integrated Drought Information System, n.d.). While that heightened reliance will likely increase your monthly water bill, the reduced availability and nature of supply and demand will ultimately impact your utility expense as well.

 

If you’re looking for ways to be aware of your water consumption, here are a few tips and tricks:

  1. Short showers: Showers typically “use five to ten gallons of water a minute,” therefore, reducing the amount of time you spend in the shower will save you money and water (Volusia County Florida, 2016).
  2. Turning off the water while brushing your teeth: It’s almost second nature to keep the water running while you brush your teeth; however, turning off the water will help with your water bill!
  3. Use mulch around your plants: Mulch is a great way to keep your trees and plants watered, as it “slows the evaporation of moisture” (Volusia County Florida, n.d.).  

 

Water consumption is not something to be overlooked. Being aware of the amount of water you’re consuming will not only help you financially but will also help improve the environment!

 

Sources:

25 ways to save water. (2016, February 25). http://www.volusia.org/services/growth-and-resource-management/environmental-management/natural-resources/water-conservation/25-ways-to-save-water.stml

 

Definition of drought. (n.d.). Retrieved August 7, 2022, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drought

 

Reig, P. (2013). What’s the difference between water use and water consumption? https://www.wri.org/insights/whats-difference-between-water-use-and-water-consumption

 

US EPA, O. (2017a, January 16). How we use water [Overviews and Factsheets]. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/how-we-use-water

 

US EPA, O. (2017b, January 23). Statistics and facts [Overviews and Factsheets]. https://www.epa.gov/watersense/statistics-and-facts

 

Water basics. (n.d.). Retrieved August 7, 2022, from https://wqa.org/learn-about-water/water-basics

Water utilities. (n.d.). Drought.Gov. Retrieved August 7, 2022, from https://www.drought.gov/sectors/water-utilities

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