Water Consumption Presumptions – The Truth Behind Your Daily Routine

By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – June 29, 2012 – 2 Comments

When you think about water-conservation efforts, you may add actions like turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth or shortening your shower time – both of which are helpful – to your daily routine. However, despite these sensible choices, you would be amazed to know how much water you are actually using day to day without even realizing it. In fact, 95% of your water footprint isn’t from long showers or washing machines…it’s from the water that goes into providing the food, energy, and products you use every day.

I came across this interactive infographic from GOOD and Levi’s, and thought it would be interesting to see how even an expert like myself stacks up in the water usage department. Let’s calculate my personal water footprint in a typical day and see how this pans out.

Morning – To start my day, I wake up and take a 10-minute shower (a 5 minute shower uses up to 25 gallons of water). My morning bathroom routine also consists of at least one flushing of a toilet (1.1 gallons of water…I’ve installed low flow units in my house) and brushing my teeth (1 gallon of water if you don’t let it run) to save anyone I encounter from my morning breath. For breakfast, I get in some protein with two sunny side up eggs (125.4 gallons) and drink a cup of coffee (31.7 gallons) to get myself going. By now, I have already used up to 209 gallons of water!

Afternoon – One sheet of paper in the office takes three gallons of water to produce. So, if you are anything like me and do a lot of writing (memos, notes to self, etc.) and printing reports, you could easily use up 50 sheets a day, totaling about 150 gallons. Usually, two eggs for breakfast won’t hold my appetite by lunch, so I like to indulge in a juicy hamburger that is made of a bun (21.2 gallons), meat (615.9 gallons), and a hit of ketchup (3.2 gallons). Adding these 790.3 gallons of water used in the afternoon to my morning usage, I have been responsible for about 999.4 gallons

Evening – It’s the end to a very long day and I am fully prepared to finish it off with a pasta dinner and a glass of wine. After this delicious meal, I have probably used just as many gallons of water as calories I’ve consumed – 1,302.7. Before getting into bed, I always brush my teeth once more (1 gallon). One day done, and easily 2,303.1 gallons of water used. Keep in mind, this number has been calculated without considering countless gallons used on various activities, such as the 670 gallons of water used on electricity, not taken into account.

Many people throughout the world use three gallons of water per day, and we use that same amount to simply flush the toilet! After learning some of this information, it’s worth taking a second to evaluate the ways you are using water each day and how it all adds up in the end. By simply remaining conscious of our daily water usage, we can begin to take steps to preserve our world’s resources and understand the value it has in our daily routines.