Are you aware that water is a finite resource? Do you know how much we waste every day, week, and year? And, most importantly, do you want to learn how to conserve more of it?
Join me on a short journey through water wastage statistics to discover the truth behind our water use, waste, and conservation. We’ll take a look at the numbers of the most recent studies and find the main culprits behind wasting our precious resources.
Key Water Waste Statistics & Usage Facts
- Only 3% of the planet’s water is safe to use and drink.
- Humans use 4 trillion cubic feet of freshwater annually.
- It’s estimated that 66% of people will be at risk of water shortage in the not-so-distant future.
- We waste around 1.7 trillion gallons of water annually.
- We use two-thirds of our water in the shower.
- Whenever you flush the toilet, you use about 4 gallons of water.
- Leaks cause roughly 900 billion gallons of water waste in the US per year.
- One household uses 138 gallons of water per day and wastes 180 gallons per week due to leaks.
- If you leave a sprinkler on for an hour, it’ll use as much water as your entire home in a day.
- We can save energy and around 10 gallons of water per day if we turn off the faucet.
Why Is It Bad to Waste Water?
The planet has only 3% fresh water, and out of that, we have 1% at our disposal. And while we’ve managed to live with this amount so far, the effects of climate change are likely to change that in the years to come.
Extreme weather conditions will lead to limited water availability and contamination. So, we’d better get used to saving water now.
But there are more reasons to stop wasting our precious source of life:
- The more people are wasting water, the fewer commodities we can produce. That means scarcity and higher prices.
- You’re not just wasting water. You’re also wasting energy and money.
- Water wastage contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Demanding more and more water leads to unsustainable practices to meet that demand.
Overconsumption never results in anything positive.
We’re used to taking water for granted, but one day that may come back to haunt us.
The Effects of Wasting Water
How bad can it be? If you’re reading this, you’re likely living in a place with a constant water supply. So, what’s the big deal? Why should you care?
Domestic water usage accounts for just 8% of global use. Frankly, even if we do our best to save water, we still won’t save much. But we should be aware of the issue and discuss these problems with as many people as possible.
Now back to the main topic — where does the other 82% of water usage go?
70% goes to agriculture and the last 22% is spent on industrial purposes. That brings us back to overconsumption and our growing demand for products. If we don’t adopt more sustainable practices, we’ll be signing our doom sentence for the future.
Wasting water facts show that the biggest issue will be scarcity. We might not have enough water for our needs, or we might pollute our supplies to the point of no return. Since all life on Earth runs on water, wasting or mismanaging this precious resource would lead to health issues, dehydration, hunger, and drought. And that’s a big deal.
Now, let’s dive into the facts and stats to see where we’re headed.
Water Consumption Facts
Water consumption varies by country. It depends on the population and its agricultural and industrial use.
1. Global water consumption has been rising since 1901.
While an increase of 1%–2% per year doesn’t sound like a lot, it builds up.
The trend is expected to continue and even to go beyond 20%–30% of the current consumption. That’s mostly due to the increasing needs in the industrial and domestic sectors.
2. The US consumed the most water in 2022.
It’s number one on the list of countries with the highest water consumption for 2022. Water consumption facts show that closely after it comes Canada, followed by New Zealand, Costa Rica, and Armenia. But keep in mind that this data is based on a survey.
3. Humans use 4 trillion cubic feet of freshwater annually.
(Source: The World Counts)
And that amount will only grow with our demands. The average American household needs almost 140 gallons of water daily, which amounts to about 60 gallons for one person.
4. The consumption of bottled water is expected to grow by 34% by 2028.
(Source: Research and Markets)
That’s among the scary facts about water. What’s worse, the market has been on the rise at least since 2000. But what are the reasons for this trend?
Contaminated water is the culprit behind 1.2 million deaths per year. As more and more consumers become aware of these risks, the demand for bottled water increases, especially in the Asia Pacific market.
And while it’s great that a lot of Americans choose bottled water instead of carbonated drinks in recent years, that also puts additional pressure on the demand.
All these facts mean increasing the amount of plastic in the oceans, which is already at an alarming rate. But that’s a topic for another depressing article.
5. A single beef steak requires 1,232 gallons of water.
We’re used to thinking only about the water we consume, but we need this valuable resource for the production of everything we eat. That’s known as “virtual water”, and it undeniably contributes to the alarming water waste statistics.
Meat is among the food that requires the most water for its production. To put things into perspective, if you make a salad with lettuce, tomatoes, and tofu, that would amount to just 80 gallons of water. No wonder why vegan statistics are on the rise.
6. The agricultural sector is responsible for 70% of the total water consumption worldwide.
With the growing population and climate change constraints, it’s unlikely that we’ll reduce this percentage. Still, careful planning and the adoption of sustainable practices could help us prepare for future scarcity. That could include strict policies on water management, conducting studies to find more drought-resistant crops, and investing in better infrastructure.
Scary Facts About Water
Our neglect of water might be our downfall. This chemical substance keeps our growing population alive. Still, unless we are aware of the issue and manage it sustainably on a global scale, our survival chances will decrease by the year.
7. The world has only 16 years before it runs out of fresh water.
(Source: The World Counts)
Most of us will get to experience this change in our lifetimes. As we continue to face higher temperatures and extreme weather, which is evident from the latest climate change statistics, our water resources will deplete faster than ever.
8. Water scarcity could affect between 2.7 and 3.2 billion people in 2050.
Many countries are already facing this issue, and it will only get worse in the future. 91%–96% of the affected people will live in Asia, and the rest will be in Africa.
9. In 2022, 2.2 billion people didn’t have access to water that’s safe to drink.
And if you weren’t one of them, don’t hurry to ignore this information. By 2050, half of us will live in areas where water demands cannot be met. That’s one of the reasons why we should be more mindful of our use and waste.
Water Wastage in Households
What are the common ways in which we waste water daily? Here are the answers to this burning question:
10. Lawn watering adds one-third of water usage in the US for the summer.
While that might not sound like a lot, it means 270 more billion gallons of water per week. Taking care of your lawn is something of a national sport in the US. For many Americans, this is a hobby and a status symbol. And just like most status symbols, the price for it is higher than humanity can afford to pay.
11. Household leaks are responsible for wasting 9,400 gallons of water per family per year.
There are numerous reasons why leaks occur, including clogged drains, corrosion, and broken seals. Even without knowing it, you might have already contributed to the wastage of water at home.
So, stay on the safe side and get a plumber to check your pipes every few years. Alternatively, if this issue occurs repeatedly, you could invest in a smart water detector.
12. We waste 8 gallons of water daily while brushing our teeth.
That is if we don’t turn off the faucet. So, you could save almost 3,000 gallons of water, if you simply remember these statistics. It’s amazing how much we can achieve by implementing small habits into our daily lives.
If you’re wondering how much water you use at home, you can check by answering these questions.
Water Conservation Facts and Statistics
What are some of the sure ways to conserve water? Let’s find out:
13. A pool cover can preserve 95% of water evaporation.
That’s crucial during the summer or in warmer climates where we lose most of the water to evaporation. By getting a simple pool cover, you’ll save up significantly on filling in that pool. To begin with, having a pool is quite wasteful, but it’s also among the joys of life.
14. Golf courses in Nevada require 236 million gallons of water annually.
(Source: Review Journal)
That equals 6% of the state’s total water usage, and most of it is lost due to evaporation. Having fun in the desert isn’t cheap. Fortunately, there are also some good facts about water conservation in Nevada.
15. In January 2023, budgets for golf course water irrigation in Las Vegas were reduced.
While that’s far from a solution to the issue, it’s a step in the right direction. If golf courses use more water than the set amount, they’ll be subject to additional fees. The question here is whether the owners would care about following the rules.
16. Globally, we discharge more than 80% of wastewater back into the environment.
The latest water waste statistics show that this practice is prevalent among developing countries. So, even if developed countries treat a large portion of their wastewater, the issue remains on the table.
5 Ways to Save Water at Home
There are numerous ways to save water, but which ones matter the most? Here are the significant changes you can make to reduce your water usage and live more sustainably:
- Don’t leave the faucet on while you’re brushing your teeth.
Instead, you can leave a glass by the sink and prepare it for rinsing before you start brushing. Otherwise, you waste 4 gallons of water every time you brush. It can quickly add up. That also counts for washing dishes or your clothes by hand.
- Always run your dishwasher full.
Running the dishwasher half empty is among the common ways of wastage of water that people don’t even think about. The more you run your appliance, the more water and energy you’ll waste.
Old dishwashers (made before 1992) used to require 10–14 gallons of water per cycle. Fortunately, if you have a new dishwasher with an Eco program, you’re a lot more efficient about washing the dishes. The newer models only use around 4 gallons of water per cycle.
- Eat less meat.
Water wastage statistics confirm that meat costs way more gallons of water to produce than veggies. By reducing your meat consumption, you can also affect the overall demand. Sure it might be a drop in the ocean, but you can help your family and friends to do the same. One fun challenge you can try is Meatless Mondays.
- Shower one minute less.
That way, you’ll save around 2.5 gallons daily if you shower once. If the idea of taking away your long showers sounds preposterous, you can at least install a more efficient showerhead.
- Do a leak audit.
I strongly suggest you do that if you live in an old house or building. Wasting water facts show that this might cost you over 100 gallons of water per day. Call your plumber to check the pipes or install a leak detector.
Living a sustainable life means being aware of such issues and adopting eco-friendly habits that help rather than harm the environment.
Water is a finite resource. While 71% of our planet is covered in water, only 3% of it is safe to use and drink. And we’re using a lot of it.
The growing worldwide population presents a problem for all of our resources. As our demand for water increases, some regions will soon face supply issues. Water pollution statistics are also alarming.
The purpose of this article is to give you a full picture of the current situation in water consumption, so you can be aware of the issue. The best we can do is to spread information and press for more strict policies on water conservation and management.
Water Wastage Statistics FAQ
How Much Water Is Wasted Each Day?
One person wastes around 30 gallons daily. Most of it comes from excessive toilet flushes, long showers, leaving the faucet on, and leaks.
How Water Is Wasted Every Day?
Almost half of the water we use outdoors is wasted by inefficient irrigation systems. We also lose a significant amount of gallons due to evaporation, faulty plumbing, and old appliances.
How Is Water Wasted Throughout the World?
A lot of water goes to waste for the production of goods worldwide. Recent water wastage statistics show that household water use makes up only 8% of the total numbers, and the major part goes for agricultural and industrial purposes.
How Much Water Is Wasted Each Year?
People waste roughly 1.7 trillion gallons of water each year. That’s mostly due to inefficient infrastructure and bad policies on water treatment, resulting in leaks and sewer overflows.
What Activity Wastes the Most Water?
Watering the lawn takes the first place among the activities that waste the most water. It adds up to 270 billion gallons of water weekly for the US. The next activity that wastes a lot of water is toilet flushing. It equals between 4 and 6 gallons of water per flush.