The average American uses 575 liters of water per day, followed closely by the Australians who use up to 493 liters per person per day. The Western Europeans fare a little better with a use of approximately 200 liters per day while in the UK, the average person uses 149 liters of water per day. Compare these figures to someone living in Mozambique who uses only 4 liters of water per day.
Shocking, isn’t it? And the use of water in the home accounts for at least one-third of this total. Households use up to 56% of all tap water so clearly families play a vital role in the water cycle. That means that the burden of finding a solution for the overconsumption of water lies partly with them.
Household water consumption has increased dramatically over the last few decades as a result of the growing level of comfort in the home e.g. the installation of baths, showers, and toilets. It has also increased as a result of families growing smaller. Clothes get washed more frequently, people bath or shower more often, cars get washed, the lawns watered and swimming pools are filled.
Although figures vary, it is safe to say that the average consumption of water by someone living in the European Union is 200 liters per person per day. Imagine twenty 10-litre buckets of water lined up in a row. Though some households use rain or groundwater for some purposes like gardening, most of these 200 liters come from tap water.
The amount of water used by households varies depending on how many people live in a house. A small family will use comparatively more water than a large one. Think of the more efficient use of the washing machine or dishwasher.
The High Quality of Tap Water
As should be expected, the water that comes from the tap is of a very high quality. Every drop delivered by the water company is good enough to drink. The water has to measure up to a high standard and is checked daily. Tap water is the ultimate thirst quencher. Using bottled water for drinking or cooking is unnecessary.
The affluent lifestyles most people lead, causes them to disregard the value of clean water. Using tap water for drinking, preparing food, personal hygiene and washing the dishes makes sense. This is the healthiest option. But rainwater is a good alternative for many other uses in the home.
In so many homes, rainwater falling down on the rooftops simply ends up in the gutter. This relatively clean water then mixes with dirty sewage water and becomes polluted. This is a great shame as there are much better, more environmentally conscious uses of filtered rainwater in and around the home. For example:
- The flushing of toilets
- For washing clothes
- Cleaning (home, car etc)
Thinking about how and where we use valuable tap water is the first step towards a lasting change of water consumption behavior.