The task to keep track of personal water use for two days was quite interesting. I had a general idea of the tasks that would require water, but keeping track of them individually reminded me of how prone we can become to simply use water because of its availability. I decided to measure my water usage on a weekend because I tend to use weekends to accomplish certain cleaning chores. It wasquite surprising to find my personal water usage was above the American average of 100 gallons daily, with usage of 113 and 118 gallons on the days tested; but it must be taken into consideration that the bulk of that water usage came from cleaning chores such as laundry, dishwashing and car washing, averaging 45 gallons more on days when those tasks where
accomplished. This means that my averagedaily use for regular tasks is about 70 gallons. However, reading through a textbook from another class, I came across some very interesting information. “The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) states that 26.4 gallons (400 lilters) [of water] a day per person is required to maintain a reasonably good quality of life” (Kibert 219). This really surprised me, because I didn’t thinkmy water usage would ever be three times higher than what should be stipulated for good quality of life. This realization coupled with this task of measuring personal water usage really charged me to look into how my consumption habits and how the equipment in the house I live in can greatly impact the amount of water I use.
Because such a large portion of water used came from these cleaningchores, focusing on reducing that water usage was critical. Clothes, dish and car washing can definitely be accomplished with less water. For clothes washing I inquired online and found that “front loaders cut water use by nearly 40 percent. A typical top-loading washer uses about 40 gallons of water for each full load. In contrast, a full-size horizontal axis clothes washer uses only 20 to 25gallons” (www.consumerenergycenter.org). For my personal habits that would cut at least 1,000 gallons of water per year as well as energy savings, and would be much more for an entire family. Similarly; “high efficiency dishwashers use about 6-10 gallons of water per load of dishes” (www.mwra.state.ma.us), putting in place a high efficiency dishwasher would yield 6-8 gallons of water saved perload, multiplying this twice a week; that would save an additional 600-800 gallons a year for personal usage, once again much more for families. Of course another way to save would be to do dishes
just once a week. Car washing is the easiest chore to save, because it is so unnecessarily consumptive. Wash a car with a couple buckets worth of water will likely use about six or seven gallonscompared to the 30 gallons used hosing down a car. By simply using a bucket and some rags car washing could dramatically decrease water usage.
Even taking into account these reductions in water usage, reaching the goal of 26.4 gallons a day would not be possible if we did not change the equipment and fixtures that are used to deliver water. Water usage can be reduced in all faucets by employinglow flow systems; in every one of the faucets mentioned in my usage table I was able to find a replacement on the internet that would use at least half the water that the current one was using in gallons per minute. By replacing all these fixtures I calculate that my consumption would be around 30 gallons per day, and by simply being more conscious of the time you keep a faucet open and its use wecould reduce these numbers to the 26.4 gallon a day per person benchmark set by USAID. In recent years Americans and Europeans have already committed to a similar practice in energy usage, a great majority of light bulbs have been changed for more efficient, less consumptive alternatives. Also education programs and advertisements to turn off lights, as well as electronic sensors and automatic...
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