Friday, June 12, 2009

Estimate your water footprint

I did a fun little exercise this morning. I estimated my water foot print on According to our water bill my household of two adults and one baby uses about 70 gallons a day, which is far below the national average of 200. SWEET! BUT, if you take into account such factors as:

-what we eat (typical American diet of dairy and some meat)
-the fact that we never water our lawn or garden except with rain barrels
-we use about 25 gallons of gas a week
-we do an above average five loads of laundry a week (blame the cloth diapers, which I still firmly believe use LESS water in the long run, I've discussed this before so I won't revisit).

Plus after many more questions on the survey the answer to my personal water footprint is more like 831.45 gallons a day, to be precise:

I'm still below the national average by 359 gallons, but that 831 gallons still seems like a lot. What can I do? We already have rain barrels and never wash our cars. We already have a low flow toilet, and, as the website asks, we "let it mellow" (unless we're expecting guests) - it does actually ask that, if you don't know what that means use your imagination. We don't brush our teeth with the water running and take short showers.

The website recommended getting an Energy Star dishwasher (which we have) an Energy Star washing machine (on my wish-list ever since the diapers started piling up) and low flow faucets, which I will definitely look into.

It was an interesting exercise and only took a minute, so go figure out your personal water footprint! And remember, it's "take shorter showers" week courtesy of Reduce Footprints!


  1. Ha! I came in at 826.52 gallons/day. We'd have to work pretty hard to save more water. Su wants a rain barrel, but honestly we don't water too often.

  2. congrats! you beat us! you have one less, very dirty, person in your house...meaning Lizzie, not Brian, although that's a tough call. :) I promised you guys I'd keep my eyes peeled for a good cast-off barrel, still looking.

  3. This is something I need to work much harder to improve. We are below the national average but still way too high.
    I see several places around our house where a minor change would make a big difference. Thanks for posting this information.
    Have a great day,

  4. I am the conservative person. It's the man in my life that I have to get on about 1/2 loads of laundry and running water while brushing his teeth. Lots of little things that add up. He has no concept of conservation.

  5. SQ: that's great that you're below average! AND are willing to look for more ways to conserve.

    Rae: I find it is in a lot of cases the man in the family :) my best friend's husband takes 30 minute showers, he did it once at my house and I thought he fell asleep in there! My husband is in and out so fast though that I swear he doesn't use soap...not sure what's worse! :)

    thanks for visiting everyone! -kate

  6. Hi Kate,

    First i want to thank you for popping by my wee blog sorry it has taken a time to get back to you but the signal has gone wonky in the mountains..

    Love this post i have for many years bored people talking about water but to me it is such an important issue

    i will pop over and check our figures also i have linked the post to my site at the blackbus

    years ago i got rid of washing machines dishwater machines etc and as for bathig i am lucky that i just go to the waterfall..

    so glad to have met you take care andy the dafthermit

  7. Topiary is lucky that it hardly ever takes showers. Just a gentle misting is sufficient to keep leaves leafy and green.


  8. Topiary, you are lucky you only need a gentle misting.

    Andy DH, you are very lucky you live near such beautiful and plentiful waterfalls. My husband is jealous, if he could shower in a waterfall everyday he would be a happy man, especially a Scottish one....enjoy! and thanks for posting that link on your site. it is also nice to meet you!

  9. Hi Kate

    Aye we are so lucky to be able to travel the highlands of Scotland free ,in our old bus and be able to have the time to enjoy this wonderful simple life we have created

    i will send your husband a barrel of highland water and maybe he can watch my you tube film and imagine he is here in the highlands

    andy the DAFT hermit


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