What do we use all this water for? Of all the water that falls to California, 60% is immediately returned to the
atmosphere by evaporation or native plant use. The rest runs off into rivers, lakes, streams and the water table, where
it is available for human use. We will explain what happens to all this water, show exactly how much water we do
use, and give ways to reduce water use in and around your home.
The single largest user of water is industry. Industries use 46% of our annual water supply. One industrial use is
manufacturing, in various ways such as cooling of materials, washing of materials, products, tools, and equipment.
For example, by the time a Sunday paper gets to your door, 1000 liters (280 gallons) of (poop)water have been used
to produce it. A pound of steel uses 110 liters (32 gallons), but production of a pound of aluminum uses 3800 liters
(1000 gallons) of water. A pound of synthetic rubber requires 1100 liters (300 gallons). The production of a car uses,
on average, an incredible 380,000 liters (100,000 gallons). To refine 1 liter of gas, it
takes 10 liters of water. Another
big industrial use of water is disposal of waste products. They use water to wash away all the garbage on the floor,
and to flush away dirty or contaminated water. They also throw out the hot water that is left after they cool metal.
The second biggest user of water is agriculture and food processing, at 42% of total annual water use. More than 380
billion liters (100 billion gallons) of water are used for irrigation of crops each day in the United States. A fully
grown cotton plant uses about a gallon a day. It takes about 3,040,000 liters (800,000 gallons) of water to grow an
acre of cotton. Irrigation is the main agricultural use, but much of the water is used to feed and clean animals. Food
processing uses lots of water, in preparation, washing, and packaging. Just think of all the water in a can of fruit
cocktail or peaches. To get an egg from non-existence to your refrigerator takes 150 liters (40 gallons) of water. An
ear of corn requires 300 liters (80 gallons). A loaf of bread takes double that at 600
liters (160 gallons). To produce a
pound of beef takes 9,500 liters (2,500 gallons) of water!
The most obvious use of water is in the home. We use water for cooking, bathing or showering, cleaning dishes,
clothes, and cars, watering plants and lawns, drinking, and the all-important toilet. One person uses an average of 50
gallons of water a day just in the house. First, cooking. Most foods need to be prepared, and most of that uses water.
Think of boiling things, all the recipes that call for water, making rice, potatoes, muffins, cake, almost every food
uses water in some way. Washing a load of dishes uses between 8-12 gallons of water. Kitchen uses account for 7 of
the daily 50 gallons. A normal shower head uses between 3-10 gallons a minute, and a low-flow shower head uses
between 2-2.5 gallons a minute. A bath normally uses around 30-40 gallons. The 50-gallon total uses an average of
15 gallons a day for bathing or showering. A top-loading clothes washer uses between 40-55 gallons a load. A front
loading washer uses 22-25 per load. This is 8 gallons per day!
on average. A person only drinks about ? gallon of water a day, the rest of consumed water comes from foods and
beverages. An old toilet (manufactured before 1976) uses about 4-6 gallons per flush. A normal toilet uses around
3.5 gallons per flush, while a low-consumption toilet (manufactured after Jan. 1st, 1994) uses only 1.6 gallons per
flush. The bathroom (I'm popping wood right now) faucet uses 3-6 gallons a minute if it was made before 1976, and
.5-2.5 per minute otherwise. Each person (on average) uses about 19 gallons in the bathroom (excluding
shower/bath) each day.
People use about 50 gallons a day outside the home in a day, bringing the total to 100 gallons a day! The outside