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How much water do YOU use?
Old 11-08-2008, 11:31 AM   #1
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How much water do YOU use?

A question about water bills from Want2Retire in the Your monthly cost of housing thread got me looking closely at my water bill. We're averaging close to $90 per month for water/sewer. Examining my bill, it lists our average gallons used per day. We installed a water-efficient dishwasher and washing machine earlier this year, and our water consumption is down 38.6 percent compared to last year. That's the good news. The bad news is that we're still using 380 gallons of water per day, on average. That's down from 619 gallons per day a year ago!

Those numbers are staggering to me. If I'd had to guess, I would have guessed that we use a quarter to a third of that amount. We're a family of 4, in a 2800 sf suburban home with small front and back yards. We do have lawn and landscaping that we irrigate year round (not much rain here in SoCal). We try to err on the side of underwatering, so it's not like we're flooding the lawn every morning. I'm trying to figure out where all this water is going, because it doesn't feel like we use anywhere near this much.

So, how much water do YOU use at home?
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:42 AM   #2
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115 gallons per day on average, 2500 sq. ft. house in suburbia, 2 people. Monthly water bill: $7.50 on average.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:44 AM   #3
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I don't know. I have a well and septic tank. But I get water bills from several of my rental properties, and they seem to average over 1700 gallons per month per individual. They have dishwashers, but the washing machine is a separate meter. Your usage of over 11000 gallons per month seems a little high to me. But I'll bet your irrigation load and clothes washing contribute to that. Oh, how many teenagers live in your home?
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:48 AM   #4
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It is amazing how much water is pumped out through irrigation.
If you have the info, check the gallons per minute rate of your irrigation heads and then count up the number of heads.
As I recall, most are 2.5-5 gallons per minute. If you run each zone for 15 minutes and have 8 sprinkler heads that is 600-1200 gallons right there.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:50 AM   #5
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Thanks. Reminds me it's time to fill the tub full for the morning bath. I would never get thru the to-do list without this forum.

Don't know about quantity but besides the above wasteful use, I wash dishes by hand and drink a lot of it straight from the tap and for cooking. Since I retired 10 weeks ago, I'm doing noticeably fewer loads of laundry. They haven't declared draught conditions here yet.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:51 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by tightasadrum View Post
Oh, how many teenagers live in your home?
That's what you'd think, right? Our kids are 2 and 4. I've never measured how much water their baths take (they do still bathe together), but I'm sure that contributes.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:55 AM   #7
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It is amazing how much water is pumped out through irrigation.
If you have the info, check the gallons per minute rate of your irrigation heads and then count up the number of heads.
As I recall, most are 2.5-5 gallons per minute. If you run each zone for 15 minutes and have 8 sprinkler heads that is 600-1200 gallons right there.
Wow. I'm going to have to look closely at that, as it seems like the most likely culprit. Thanks for the tip!
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:06 PM   #8
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My water bill also includes sewerage, trash, mosquito control, and park maintenance. It comes every two months and itemizes the charges for each of these.

The water charge for two months on my most recent bill was $5.07 for 3000 gallons. So, for one month the charge would be $2.54 for 1500 gallons (50 gallons/day).

That seems like a lot of water to me! I cannot imagine how I use so much. Maybe 3000 gallons is the minimum charge. I shower daily and do dishes and laundry as needed, but there is only one of me and I do not need to water the yard at all due to our abundant rainfall averages. My outside faucet has developed a drip, so maybe that is the problem. Got to get the plumber out here one of these days.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:08 PM   #9
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My pleasure.
If it is the culprit, there is a lot you can do to lessen the drain.
First, if you water between 10am and 6pm do it earlier or later. Especially if you water noon to 4pm, much of the water is simply going to evaporate during that time.
If you water often but for short periods, water less often for longer times. In most soils, this will encourage the grass to grow deeper roots. Which will make the grass more tolerant of dry conditions so you don't need to water as much.
Best of all, you can replace turf with a drought tolerant yard. Use local plants which are used to the dry conditions.
Hope some of that helps.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:17 PM   #10
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About 1700 gallons a month for two people. The bill with all the taxes and sewer comes to $15.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:30 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ProspectiveBum View Post
A question about water bills from Want2Retire in the Your monthly cost of housing thread got me looking closely at my water bill. We're averaging close to $90 per month for water/sewer. Examining my bill, it lists our average gallons used per day. We installed a water-efficient dishwasher and washing machine earlier this year, and our water consumption is down 38.6 percent compared to last year. That's the good news. The bad news is that we're still using 380 gallons of water per day, on average. That's down from 619 gallons per day a year ago!

Those numbers are staggering to me. If I'd had to guess, I would have guessed that we use a quarter to a third of that amount. We're a family of 4, in a 2800 sf suburban home with small front and back yards. We do have lawn and landscaping that we irrigate year round (not much rain here in SoCal). We try to err on the side of underwatering, so it's not like we're flooding the lawn every morning. I'm trying to figure out where all this water is going, because it doesn't feel like we use anywhere near this much.

So, how much water do YOU use at home?

One thing I would do if I were you is go look at the meter before you go to bed and write down where it is at. Do not use any water for 12 hours then go back out to check the meter just to be sure you do not have some leaks.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:53 PM   #12
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From 8/12/08 to 10/20/08 meter reading 83,000 gallons. That is 69 days and 1202 gallons per day.


That seems very excessive, we use culinary water to irrigate the lawn but I had turned off the sprinklers in early September. We are supposed to get pressurized irrigation water for lawns next year which should lower the bill at least.

Family of 5, 2 adults, 1 -17 y.o., 1 - 12 y.o. and 9 y.o. And we all like to take long showers.
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Old 11-08-2008, 12:58 PM   #13
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Two people, 3/4 acre lot with common bermudagrass. We have averaged 366 gallons per day (or 10,000 - 11,000 gallons per month total) over the last 12 months. The average cost is $3.19 per 1000 gallons or $32.94 per month. Trash and sewer adds about another $30/month.

We have cut waaay back on irrigation of the lawn.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:08 PM   #14
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Two of us use an average of around 5900 galllons per month......196 gallons per day. We use quite a bit watering the gardens and planters from spring through fall....far less during winter. We do about 3-4 loads of laundry per week, wash dishes by hand, and drink a LOT of tap water.....no 'in house' filters, purifiers, or conditioners. Our municipal water comes from 1200-1300 ft. deep wells sunk into the St. Petersburg sandstone aquifer, and is then run through their RO units. Average monthly bill for water & sewer is about $30 to $35.....sometimes more, sometimes less.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:21 PM   #15
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Ranges about 200 - 300 gallons per day in NorCal. There's only 2 1/2 of us (including the cat) in a 1900 sq ft house, so the landscaping must really be accounting for most of it. I can certainly say the 100 gallon variance is due to summer when the sprinklers are really cranked up. Thinking about reducing the amount of grass we have...

Our water bill is currently a flat rate of $25.97, but I expect this to drop to $10 to 20 when we convert to a use rate. Sewer is about $35 a month.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:28 PM   #16
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Two of us use an average of 266 gallons per day. If DW takes a trip or stays at a relative's house, water use goes way down. I'll run the dishwasher once a week or so, and do two loads of laundry a week.

She runs the dishwasher every day - I've never seen anyone dirty so many dishes in one day! - and does probably a load of laundry a day. Why, I don't know. I've suggested that it would be cheaper to go out and buy enough clothes so she wouldn't have to wash the same three or four outfits, which she changes into/out of a couple times a day. And don't get me started on the toilet flushing....

Public water and sewer and the bills are high, usually $60/month or so. Each.

But at least she doesn't run up credit card bills.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:52 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ProspectiveBum View Post
So, how much water do YOU use at home?
Our last bill was 14,000 gallons over 61 days-- 229 gallons per day or 77 gallons per day per person. (Since I'm the only male in the house I'm going to claim that I'm consuming less than that average, despite encouragement to raise it.) For that privilege we paid $40.91, or about $20.50 per month.

That per-person average is misleading since the vast majority of our water goes to landscape irrigation. We've reduced that amount by half over the last two years, too, by letting the yellow oleander trees creep up the back hill to stabilize the slope and let us turn off the sprinklers behind them. In another five years I hope to have most of those back hill sprinklers shut off.

Submarines strive for a water-consumption goal of 22 gallons per day per person... including coffee, cooking, personal hygiene, and laundry. (In that order.) Of course there's no irrigation and the toilets are flushed with seawater.

Another big incentive to reduce our water use is to cut back on our sewer bill, which is estimated from our water consumption. The sewer fee was $117.76 for that same period, and the only other way to reduce it would be to install a separate water meter on the irrigation line to show what's going where. I don't know how much the meter or the labor would cost but it might be worth the payback.
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Old 11-08-2008, 01:53 PM   #18
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Calendar year 2007:
.65 CCF/day
(48.7 gal/day)
Avg: $8/month

(157 laundry
103 dishwasher
60 water softener cycles)

will be lower for 2008, as the laundry rinse water was sufficient to keep the garden alive

1 person (1 cat)

never watered a lawn in my life
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:00 PM   #19
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Our water usage is not metered here in East Nowhere NY. we have 2 large reservoirs right down the road and enough rainfall and snowfall to keep them well supllied year 'round.
Outgoing water flow is directly into our septic system, with a dry well for "grey water" from showers and dishwasher. Each septic pumpout costs roughly $200, done annually as a preventative measure against backups due to clogging of baffles. Too much information?
I pay $110 every 6 months for unlimited water, the incoming kind, that is.
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:04 PM   #20
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3000 gallons last month...
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