How Much Water Do You Use?

It has been found that the average California home uses 384 gallons of water daily, indoors and out. The average apartment or condominium uses 256 gallons daily.  And a single individual uses about 150 gallons a day, including outdoor watering. The chart below provides information on how much water our daily activities consume.

Conservation is an effort we can practice every day. With just a little adjustment to your normal activities, like shorter showers or turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth, you can save water and money.

In the Bathroom

  • If you’re taking a shower, don’t waste cold water while waiting for hot water to reach the shower head. Catch that water in a container to use on your outside plants or to flush your toilet. You can save 200 to 300 gallons a month.
  • Shorten your showers. Even a one- or two-minute reduction can save up to 700 gallons a month.
  • If you have time, take baths instead of showers. A partially-filled tub uses less water than all but the shortest showers. You can save 15 to 20 gallons each time.
  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. You can save 3 gallons each day.
  • Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. You can save 3 gallons each day.
  • Don’t use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket to flush refuse or pet waste. You can save 400 to 600 gallons a month.

In the Kitchen

  • If you have two basins in your sink, fill one with rinse water instead of running the faucet to rinse. If you only have one basin, use a spray device or short blasts of water instead of letting the water run. You can save 200 to 500 gallons a month.
  • When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed. You can save 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it for drinking. You can save 200 to 300 gallons a month.
  • Don’t defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave. You can save 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  • Don’t let the faucet run while you clean fruits or vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan. You can save 150 to 250 gallons a month.
  • Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage can more. You can save 50 to 150 gallons a month.
  • If you go out to eat, turn the empty water glass upside down if you don’t want water. Not only will you save the water you don’t drink, you’ll also save the water used to wash the glass. Collectively we can save millions of gallons a year.

Indoor Checklist

Try some of these easy tips to help kick-start your way to saving water and money in your home. You can also print this list to keep a copy as a reminder!


  • Fix leaky toilets.  Save 30 to 100 gallons per day.
  • Fix leaky faucets.  Save 15 to 20 gallons per day.
  • Shorten showers.  Save 2.5 gallons per minute. Catch the water while your shower is heating up and use it to water plants, clean, or drink.
  • Fill bathtubs halfway.  Save 12 gallons per bath.
  • Turn water off while brushing teeth or shaving.  Save 2 to 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • Turn off water while washing dishes.  Save 2.5 gallons per minute.
  • Run washing machines with full loads.  Save 15 to 50 gallons per load.
  • Run dishwasher with full loads.  Save 2 to 4.5 gallons per load.


  • Install faucet aerators.  Save up to 5 gallons per minute.
  • Replace older showerheads.  Save 1.5 gallons per minute.
  • Replace older toilets.  Save 1.9 to 3.8 gallons per flush by using ultra low-flow, high efficiency, or dual flush models.
  • Replace older washing machines.  Save 20 to 30 gallons per load.
  • Replace older dishwashers.  Save 2.5 to 9.5 gallons per load.

Around the House

  • When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your plants.
  • When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • Insulate hot water pipes where possible to avoid long delays (and wasted water) while waiting for the water to “run hot.”  When building a new home, keep the distance short between the hot water heater and showers and other places that hot water is used.
  • Set cooling systems and water softeners for a minimum number of refills.  This saves water and chemicals, plus more on utility bills.
  • Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy and helps your clothes keep their colors.
  • When shopping for a new clothes washer, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some of these can save up to 20 gallons per load.  They can save energy too.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.