23 Amazing (and Unusual) Water Facts to Know

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Water Facts

When it comes to water savings and water efficiency, there are many small steps we can take to make a big difference. Here are 23 amazing — and unusual — water facts to help you use water more wisely in your home and business:

1. Turn it off

Turning off the water while brushing your teeth can save up to 4 gallons per minute. That quickly adds up to about 200 gallons a week for a family of four. Do the same thing while washing your hair and you can save up to 150 gallons per month.

(Source: Water Wisely)

2. Here fishy, fishy

Have an aquarium and a garden? Use the waste water from your aquarium to feed your plants. Fish waste and decaying fish food particles have helpful bacteria and trace nutrients that act as a natural fertilizer and help plants and vegetables thrive.

(Source: David Galloway – Lifehacker)

3. Bottled water or tap?

Did you know that 25% of the bottled water on the market is drawn from municipal taps? In fact, some of the best-selling brands of bottled water are nothing more than treated and packaged tap water. Save money by refilling your own water bottle instead. And if you reuse your water bottle throughout the day, you’ll also cut down on the number of glasses you need to wash.        

(Source: ESP Water Products Water Facts)

4. Compost veggie waste

On average, a garbage disposal uses about 1 gallon of water per person per day (about the same as a single toilet flush). Reduce your water usage by composting vegetable food waste and running the garbage disposal sparingly.

And if you do need to use the disposal, use a cool or cold steady stream instead of hot water. Not only will you save on your overall water consumption, but any fat found in common foods (for example, macaroni and cheese) will remain solid and won’t get clogged in your disposal and drain pipes.

(Source: Insinkerator Blog)

5. Plants get thirsty, too

Ever grab ice cubes from the freezer, accidentally drop them on the floor and then throw them in the sink? Each ice cube contains approximately 1 oz of water. Next time, try dropping them in a house plant instead.

And if you find yourself waiting for water to warm up in the kitchen or shower, collect the cool water while it’s running and use it to water plants.

(Source: Water Wisely)

6. Food coloring in the toilet tank?

Household leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water annually nationwide — the average household contributes more than 10,000 gallons of wasted water every year, and 10% of homes waste 90 gallons or more per day. One of the biggest culprits is a leaking toilet.

According to the American Water Works Association, it’s estimated that 20% of all toilets leak. Toilet leaks can be small or large, constant to random, and even “silent.” These silent toilet leaks can waste over 1 gallon of water per hour (which adds up to more than 24 gallons per day).

Not sure if your toilet leaks? Most toilet leaks are caused by a faulty flapper valve. Check for a leaky valve by putting food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl after 10 minutes without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and you could save as much as 780 gallons per month. Make sure to check for leaks yearly.

(Sources: EPA.gov and City of Kirkland, Wash.)

7. Shorter is better

A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water. That’s why showering is a better option. Shorten your shower by just a minute or two and you’ll save 150 gallons per month. If you can keep your shower to five minutes or less, you could save up to 1,000 gallons per month.

And while you’re waiting for shower water to warm up, collect the water in a pasta pot or bucket. Next time you flush the toilet, open the toilet tank cover and refill it with the water you collected from your tub or shower.

(Source: Water Wisely)

8. Slow drips add up quickly

One drip of water every second adds up to five gallons of extra use per day. Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.

If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, it might be a good idea to replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model.

(Source: Water Wisely)

9. Road rules #1

The average American uses 2,000 gallons of water per day through a variety of personal consumption choices. Even our automotive habits contribute to that total.

A gallon of gasoline requires nearly 13 gallons of water to produce, so decreasing how much we drive isn’t just good for your wallet, it’s good for water savings, too.

(Source: OneGreenPlanet.org)

10. Dinosaur water?

Because the Earth is a “closed system” (similar to a terrarium), it rarely loses or gains matter. That means there is the same amount of water on Earth as there was when the Earth was formed — and the water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank.

(Sources: EPA.gov and AllAboutWater.org)

11. Your water isn’t always in liquid form

And while we’re talking about drinking water…although the daily recommended amount of water is eight cups per day, not all of this water is consumed in liquid form. Roughly 20% of our daily water intake comes from solid foods, especially fruits and vegetables.

Nearly every food or drink item provides some water to the body. But if you’re looking for the ultimate “food water,” look no farther than the cucumber, which has the higest water content of any solid food at 96.7%.

(Sources: AllAboutWater.org and Health.com)

12. Shower with your partner

The average person’s shower lasts eight minutes, which uses 18 gallons of water (using an average shower head).

Want to save time and water? Shower with your partner! Keep the duration the same, double the occupancy and now you’re only using 9 gallons total. 

Prefer to shower alone, but lose track of time? Try playing songs on your cell phone for fun water savings. Challenge yourself to get your shower time down to just a song or two.

(Source: OneGreenPlanet.org)

13. Meatless Mondays matter

It takes a whopping 1,847 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef and 845 gallons of water to produce a pound of chicken. Tofu, rice, potatoes and almost all other fruits and veggies use less than 300 gallons of water (per pound of food) to produce. Skip the meat and you could save up to 65,000 gallons of water per year.

(Source: A Plus)

14. Tuna can water gauge

A family of four may spend a third (or more) of its daily water consumption for outdoor usage, like watering lawns and gardens. Not sure how much you’re watering? Use a simple, empty tuna can as a water gauge to measure sprinkler output. Approximately ¾ of an inch to 1 inch of water that’s collected should be enough to apply each time you irrigate. 

(Source: Water Wisely)

15. Take a sprinkler break

Outdoor water usage can put a lot of stress on local water sources, especially during the summer. One way to help is to let your grass grow longer by adjusting your lawn mower to a height of 1.5 to 2 inches. Taller grass not only shades roots, it also holds soil moisture better than short grass.

(Source: Water Wisely)

16. Road rules #2

Most people don’t realize that water accounts for 10% of utility bills in many hotels — both for purchasing fresh water and then disposing of it as waste. Traveling this summer? Bring along your water-wise habits and help save water on the road.

Help local conservation efforts and protect the Earth by reusing towels, shortening showers and alerting management immediately if you notice any leaks.

(Source: Green Hotelier)

17. Drink up

Water makes up a full 70% of our body mass (even an elephant is 70% water). And it’s easy to lose over 2 quarts — that’s 64 ounces — of water every day through the normal vapor exchange of our skin, or perspiration. So remember to drink up!

And remember, for every 6 ounces of caffeine or alcohol you consume, you’ll need to drink an additional 10 to 12 ounces of water to rehydrate.

(Source: ESP Water Products)

18. Road rules #3

It takes 1,850 gallons of water to refine one barrel of crude oil, as well as 39,000 gallons of water to manufacture a new car. Can you bike to work, join a rideshare or start a carpool? Save money, reduce stress and take the hassle out of getting to work, all while saving water and the environment.

(Source: ESP Water Products)

19. The Mpemba Effect

Want to try a fun science experiment with the kids? Take two identical containers of water, fill one with hot water and the other with cold water, and put them both in the freezer at the same time. Which one will be frozen first?

You’ll see that hot water freezes faster than cold water. Really! It’s known as the Mpemba Effect, named after a Tanzanian high school student who convinced a physics professor to conduct an experiment in which, under certain conditions, hot water does indeed freeze before cold water.

(Source: Neatorama)

20. The clothes you wear

Most of us don’t think twice about water usage when we’re getting dressed in the morning. Did you know it takes 2,113 gallons to make a pair of jeans and 660 gallons to make a single T-shirt? No wonder the United States consumes water at twice the rate of other industrialized nations.

Donate old clothes or recycle that T-shirt into an eco-friendly tote bag. And think twice before you wash — run your washer (and dryer) only when it’s full.

(Source: Save The Water)

21. Thirsty much?

Water is essential to our health. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger. Next time you want to grab a midnight snack, try drinking a glass of water instead to shut down those hunger pains. As a side benefit, water also fights bad breath.

And if you’re thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing on a computer screen or printed page

(Source: Save The Water)

22. Where’s the water?

The world’s water supply is dwindling. Yet, it’s the only water supply we will ever have. Just because we have access to fresh tap water in our kitchens doesn’t mean there is an endless supply of safe, clean water to share throughout the world

Even though approximately 70% of the Earth is covered in water, only 2% of the planet’s water is fresh water. And unfortunately, 1.6% (of the 2%) is locked in polar ice caps and glaciers, leaving 7 billion people in the world to share and survive on only 0.4%.

(Source: Save The Water)

23. World view

After California’s wetter-than-normal winter and improved drought conditions, it’s easy to forget about water scarcity and how it affects supply throughout the world.

Even a five-minute shower in an American household will use more water than a person living in a developing world may use in a day. For example, water consumption in a U.S. household is eight times that of an Indian household.

There’s plenty you can do to help. Want to know how much water you’re using? Calculate your water footprint to get an estimate of your total water usage.

(Sources: Matador Network and Grace Communications Foundation)