We’re Using Less Water Today than 50 Years Ago

At the end of June 2018, the Washington Post reported that the per-capita consumption of water in the U.S. had fallen to its lowest level in half a century. *  According to the report, in 1960 we were using about 89 gallons of water per day/per person in this country.  By 1980, that had jumped to 112 gallons per day/per person.

But by 2015, something unexpected happened.  Consumption dropped to 82 gallons of water per day/per person. That’s a 27 percent decrease. The article went on to say that, “for a typical family of four, that means about a half-ton of water [is being] saved, every single day relative to 1980.”

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To be clear, this water savings is in residences.  The report did not include the amount of water being saved or not saved in commercial facilities.  The water in residential locations is being used for such things as drinking, food preparation, washing clothes, washing dishes, landscaping, and flushing toilets.

This is encouraging and one of the reasons for the savings, according to the report, were water saving measures signed into law back in 1992.  That’s when Congress and the president signed into law the National Energy Policy Act of 1992, requiring that toilets, urinals, and showerheads use considerably less water than they did back in the 1980’s.

However, recent technologies have made those numbers obsolete.  For instance, the 1992 law requires toilets to use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. Some high performing toilets today use only about 1.25 gallons of water per flush or less, and while it has not made its debut on center stage, engineers around the world are working on toilets that use virtually no water at all. That would result in a tremendous reduction in water consumption.

We have realized this already when no-water urinals were first introduced in the U.S. in the early 1990’s.  At that time, it was estimated these waterless urinals were saving as much as 40,000 gallons of water per urinal/per year. Today, it is estimated that they are saving about 30,000 gallons per year/per urinal, still a staggering amount.

In fact, while the Act mentioned earlier did have a significant impact on reducing water consumption in the U.S., the reality is that manufacturers on their own have developed and introduced innovative technologies that use water much more efficiently since then.  And fortunately, engineers are still at it.  We can expect more to be introduced in the years ahead, including that no-water toilet mentioned earlier.

For more information on ways to reduce water consumption, explore our site, www.waterless.com


*“Americans are conserving water like never before, according to the latest federal data,” by Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post, June 25, 2018.