JWSD's Water Facts

Water conservation is something we all should practice. Except for the air we breathe, water is the single most important element in our lives... Water is too precious to waste.

Here are useful facts and simple suggestions that will help you understand more about water. They may even help you save hundreds, even thousands of gallons of water per month without any great inconvenience.

1There’s as much water in the world today as there was thousands of years ago. Actually, it’s the same water. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank. Perhaps Christopher Columbus sailed across it.

2Nearly 97 percent of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2 percent is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1 percent for all of humanity’s needs-all agricultural, manufacturing, community, and personal household needs.

3The United States uses some 450 billion gallons of water every day. Only about 6 percent of that - 27 billion gallons - is taken by public water supply systems. The US daily average of water pumped by those systems is 185 gallons per person.

4We actually drink very little of our drinking water. Generally speaking, less than 1 percent of the treated water produced by water utilities is actually consumed. The rest goes on lawns, in washing machines, and down toilets and drains.

5For the price of a single 12-oz can of soda (about 50 cents) many communities deliver up to 1,000 gallons of fresh, clean drinking water to homes 24 hours a day. If drinking water and soda pop were equally costly, your water bill would skyrocket more than 10,000 percent!

6If everyone in the United States flushed the toilet just one less time per day, we could save a lake full of water about a mile long, a mile wide, and four feet deep every day.

7Every glass of water brought to you at the dinner table in a restaurant requires another two glasses to wash and rinse that glass. Because nearly 70 million meals are served each day by restaurants, we’d save more than 26 million gallons of water if only one person in four declined the complementary glassful.

8If you have a lawn, chances are it’s your biggest water gobbler. Typically, at least 50 percent of water consumed by households is used outdoors. Inside your house, bathroom facilities claim nearly 75 percent of the water used.

9Indoor water use statistics vary from family to family and in various parts of the country, but they average out pretty reliably. Nearly 40 percent gets flushed down toilets, more than 30 percent is used in showers and baths, the laundry and dishwashing rake in about 15 percent, leaks claim 5 percent or more, which leaves about 10 percent for everything else.

10How many times a day is the toilet flushed at your house? If US citizens averaged only four of five flushes per day, it would amount to more than 5 billion gallons of water down the drain. That’s enough to supply drinking water to the entire population of Chicago for more than 6 years.

11Little leaks add up in a hurry. A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to 15 gallons a day. That’s over 105 gallons a week and 5,460 wasted gallons of water a year.

12Ultra-low flush toilets, which may cost from under $100 to over $300, depending on the type purchased, use only about 1.5 gallons of water per flush. That could cut your family’s total indoor water use by as much as 20 percent.

13Which uses more water? A shower or a tub bath? It all depends. A partially filled tub uses much less water than a long shower, while a short shower is much more water efficient than a brimful tub. If you shower in a bathtub, check yourself by plugging the tub to see how high the water comes when you’re finished. Do you use more or less than that amount when you take a bath?

14Any showerhead now manufactured in the United States is requires by law to release no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Super low-flow showerheads that deliver as little as 1.25 gallons per minute, cost anywhere from $5 to $75.

15Is it possible your toilet has a secret leak? You can test it by putting 10 drops of food coloring in the tank. Don’t flush for fifteen minutes. If the colored water shows up in the bowl the tank is leaking.

16Some people thoughtlessly flush away tissues and other bits of trash in the toilet. Using a wastebasket instead, will save all those gallons of water that otherwise would go wastefully down the drain.

17If someone in your family likes to shave with water running in the basin, they probably use at least one gallon per minute. A stoppered basin needs one-half gallon or so of water for adequate razor rinsing.

18Have you ever heard of showering “The Navy Way?” Because fresh water is relatively scarce on ships, sailors were taught just to get wet, and then turn off the shower while soaping and scrubbing, and turn it on again to briefly rinse off. It’s a great water conservation technique.

19Don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth or when you wash your face. Most of it will be wasted. Just take what you need and save the rest.

20If everyone in the United States could manage to use just one less gallon of water per shower every day, we could save some 85 billion gallons per year. How do you do it? By keeping the shower pressure lower or by making your showers a few seconds shorter.

21Fill your dishwasher full because it will use the same amount of water for a normal cycle whether it contains a full load of dishes or just a few items. Also, there’s really no need to fully wash dishes before loading in the dishwasher. Just scrape off scraps and rinse.

22Water heaters often are set at 140 degrees. You can save energy by turning the temperature on your water heater down to 130 degrees. Don’t go any lower because some harmful bacteria could survive.

23Which is more water efficient? Washing dishes in an automatic dishwasher or doing them by hand in the sink? It depends. But, you can check by testing how many gallons a full sink basin holds compared with the 9.5 to 12 gallons dishwashing machines use during a regular cycle.

24Instead of letting the water run in the sink when you want a cool drink, keep a pitcher full of water cooling in the refrigerator. If you detect and dislike the taste of chlorine in your water, which is used by many communities for disinfection, keep water in an uncovered jug or pitcher to allow chlorine molecules to escape into the air, thus improving the water’s taste.

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