How Much Water Am I Using?

How Much Municipal Water am I Using?

Recently, the ecological movement to “Go Green” has been all over the news. Americans have really come to realize our impact on the environment in new ways, and have started taking steps to help preserve our natural resources, to limit pollution, and make the world a healthier place to live in. The first step in becoming more environmentally friendly is to understand just how much of the resources we’re using. One of the most important natural resources we need to consider is water.

Most of us receive a water bill each month and pay it without really taking the time to understand how much water we’ve truly been using. These steps will help you calculate the amount of water you’re using at any given time, and help you see the great benefits of using various water-conservation tactics.

Gather your municipal water bills for the past year.

While many water bills show gallons consumption, sometimes the bills show CCF. The first “C” stands for the Roman numeral meaning 100. The “CF” stands for Cubic Feet. One CCF represents 100 cubic feet of water, which equals 748 gallons, therefore:

If you used a total of 100 CCF for the year, 100 CCF x 748 (gallons) = 74,800 gallons of water that year.

You can determine the water used for your outdoor watering by determining how much more water you use during the summer (outdoor watering season) months, compared to those months you don’t use any water outdoors;

You can also determine your outdoor water use by subtracting your normal indoor water consumption from your total water consumption.

You can estimate a big part of your indoor water use by simply using a gallon pitcher.

Turn your shower or faucet on and catch the water in a pitcher. Time how long it takes to fill up the pitcher. If it takes 45 seconds, you know you’re using about 1.25 gallons of water per minute. Now estimate how long the shower or faucet is run each day/week to get an idea of how much water is being used.

Turn off the water valve on your toilet and flush it. Use a full gallon pitcher to refill your toilet. Depending on how many gallons it takes to fill your tank back up, you’ll know how many gallons you drain with each flush.

Either of these two approaches will help you understand and start to control your consumption of the precious natural resource – water.. For some great water-conservation techniques, see our section on WATER CONSERVATION.

How Much Well Water am I Using?
It can be a bit more difficult to calculate how much water you’re using from your own private well. A water meter is the best indicator, and one can be installed on your supply line if you’re interested in exact usage. However, if you don’t have a meter installed, there is a way to calculate a rough estimate of your water usage.

Well systems usually rely on a pump in a deep shaft. You can estimate your water usage by taking note of how long your pump runs each day and how many gallons per minute (GPM) it pumps (check into your pump documentation for the latter). You can calculate how many gallons you use per day by multiplying the number of GPM x the number of minutes the pump runs. For example, if your pump runs for 10 minutes a day at 50 GPM, you’re using 500 gallons of water per day. To calculate your monthly usage, you would take 500 gallons per day x 30 days = 15,000 gallons per month.

By using these calculations, you’ll soon see how critical water conservation can be. Not only is it good for the environment and saving our natural resources, but it could also mean a significant impact on your own well and electric bills.