Tips for saving water


Wondering how much water the average household function consumes? Read on to find out and also for tips on saving water.


Figures are averages in gallons per California household per day unless otherwise noted.

Indoor: 175 (63,875 per year)

Outdoor: 254 (92,700 per year)

Percentage indoor use: 47 percent

Percentage outdoor use: 53 percent

Toilet flush:37.3 (2.76 gallons per flush; average number of flushes per person 4.76)

Shower: 34.3 (18 gallons 9 minutes per event)

Bath: 3.7

Faucet: 32.6

Dishwasher: 1.5

Laundry: 30.6 (30 per load)

Average water loss from leaks: 30.7

Other: 3.6

Irrigation: 22.4 (Amounts are variable based on lot size, frequency and other factors)




Older models: 3.5-7 gallons per flush

Low-flush toilets: 1.4-2.8 gallons

Tip: Use graywater from other sources to flush; decrease flushing frequency


Usage: 18 gallons

Tip: Install low-flow shower heads. Take shorter showers for a savings of approximately 2.5 gallons per minute; collect shower water during warm-up in a bucket for reuse in the garden

Bathroom faucet

Usage: 2 gallons per minute

Tip: Turn off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving can save 200 gallons per month. Reuse graywater by collecting it in a basin for garden use or toilet flushing


Traditional washing machines: 50 gallons per load

High-efficiency washers: less than 27 gallons per load

Tip: Install a laundry-to-garden gray water system

Dish washing

Open-tap washing: up to 20 gallons

Filling a sink or bowl and closing the tap: saves 10 gallons

Dishwasher: 2 gallons per cycle

Tip: Don't rinse dishes prior to loading the dishwasher and save 10 gallons per load


Overhead sprinklers: 18.4 gallons per minute

Drip system: 2.5 gallons per minute

Tip: Water less frequently; plant drought-resistant gardens; install a graywater system to irrigate with laundry water; collect water when washing from faucets in basins to water plants; hand-water or switch to a drip system; water plants with rainwater collected in barrels from roof runoff

Swimming pool

A pool might need 4 inches of make-up water due to evaporation during the hottest time of the year -- the equivalent of 2.5 gallons per square foot of pool surface. A 500-square-foot pool would require 1,250 gallons of water per week.

Tip: Eliminate swimming-pool use or install evaporation barriers for pools.

Sources: California Department of Water Resources 2011 California Single-Family Water Efficiency Study; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


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