We use water in three main sectors/areas in society – in agriculture, in industry, and for municipal/household use.
In this guide we discuss how much water we use at home, and how we use it – both in and outside the house.
Summary – How Much Water We Use At Home, & How We Use It
- There are global averages for how much water we use in households in terms of % share of total fresh water withdrawals – this number is around 11%
- There’s also numbers in terms of how much water (in terms of volume) households use as a share of a country’s fresh water supplies
- On an individual household level, water use can be divided up between the various household appliances and activities
- Beyond that, water can be divided up into indoor and outdoor water use. In drier and hotter parts of a country, water use outside the house might increase
How Much Water We Use In Households – Global Average Withdrawals
Agriculture accounts for roughly 70%, and industry 19%.
How Much Water We Use At Home – General Numbers
- The average American family uses more than 300 gallons of water per day at home.
The domestic water usage stats to know about in the United States are:
- Domestic/residential water use … in the United States was estimated … at 29.4 billion US gallons per day in 2005, and 27.4 billion US gallons per day in 2010 (7 percent lower).
- The bulk of domestic water is provided through public networks. 13% or 3.6 billion US gallons (14,000,000 m3) of water is self-supplied.
- The average domestic water use per person in the U.S. was 98-US-gallon (370 L) per day in 2005, and 88-US-gallon (330 L) per day in 2010.
- This is about 2.2 times as high as in England (150 Liter) and 2.6 times as high as in Germany (126 Liter).
- One of the reasons for the high domestic water use in the U.S. is the high share of outdoor water use. For example, the arid West has some of the highest per capita domestic water use, largely because of landscape irrigation.
- Per capita domestic water use varied from 51-US-gallon (190 L) per day in Maine to 148-US-gallon (560 L) per day in Arizona and 167-US-gallon (630 L) per day in Utah.
How We Use Water At Home
In the US:
- According to a 1999 study, on average all over the U.S. 58% of domestic water use is outdoors for gardening, swimming pools etc. and 42% is used indoors.
- A 2016 update of the 1999 study measured the average quantities and percent shares of seven indoor end uses of water:
- 24% Toilets
- 3% Baths
- 20% Showers
- 17% Clothes Washers
- 1% Dishwashers
- 19% Faucets
- 4% Other Domestic Uses
Indoor vs Outdoor Water Use In Households
- Roughly 70 percent of [the 300 gallons of water a day that the average US family uses] occurs indoors [and outdoors 30%]
- [Outdoor water use] can be much higher in drier parts of the country and in more water-intensive landscapes
- For example, the arid West has some of the highest per capita residential water use because of landscape irrigation.
How Much Water Different Appliances & Devices Use In Our Houses
You can read more in this guide about how much water different household appliances and devices might use.
4. Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser (2018) – “Water Access, Resources & Sanitation”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/water-access-resources-sanitation’ [Online Resource]