Only 5% of that 2000 gallons is actually used as water in the home – drinking, washing dishes, bathing, watering the yard and garden, and other things. The rest is embedded in the things we do, the food we eat, and goods we buy.
National Geographic has put together a water footprint calculator that can help each of us understand where we use the most water and how we can cut back. Through a series of questions, like how many loads of laundry do you do each week, how long are your showers, and what sort of plants grow in your yard, the calculator determines how much water you use. (Side note: here’s a really cool place you can shop efficient washers that allows you to check out a bunch of models and compare them on the cost they’ll incur to you for water and energy).
The cute duck illustrations and the water meter that measures your use against the average American household make this a good one for kids. But adults can learn a lot from this.
At the end of the calculator (it takes maybe ten minutes), National Geographic shows a comparison of how much water you use versus the average American in four categories. There are tips for water usage reduction and interesting facts about how much water certain activities use.
Image by Cyron, used with Creative Commons license