Visualizing your Water Usage

Visualizing your Water Usage,   by GKay Bishop

 

The City of Durham water utility measures your usage in cubic ft.

Your bill shows the equivalent in gallons.

The water bill is calculated over a period of about two months.

How much water do you use every day? Every week?

What if you had to pump your water and carry it a mile, like many women do in Africa?

 

Here are some rough calculations based on one person’s typical usage.

 

Task

Gallons

Tasks per week

Gallons per week

Gallons per year

est gals per day

Bath

25

2

50.00

2600.00

7.15

Load of laundry

50

1

50.00

2600.00

7.15

Dishwasher load

25

2

50.00

2600.00

7.15

Drinking/cooking

1.5

7

10.50

546.00

1.50

Surface cleaning

1.5

7

10.50

546.00

1.50

Toilet flush

5

21

105.00

5460.00

15.00

Wash hands

1

35

35.00

1820.00

5.00

TOTAL

113

75

317

16484.00

44.45

(your totals here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

45 gallons a day is moderate use for an industrialized country.

But water weighs 8.8 pounds per gallon. 45 gallons is nearly 400 pounds.

How would you haul 400 pounds over a mile or two every day?

 

Maybe you would decide to use less water?

 

Note that toilet flushing is about one-third of the total.

One third of your drinking water goes down the toilet. There is something wrong with this picture.

Makes a good case for composting toilets doesn’t it?

 

Or it would if you had to lift and carry that water yourself.

9 of those 5-gallon water bottles every day, per person? Whew! That is some kind of heavy lifting!

And this does not factor in the need to can food, water livestock or water a garden.

 

Of course, there is an intermediate way to picture less dependence on petroleum-based water delivery systems.

 

Suppose we lived in household clusters of 5 to 7 housing units per compound.

                      Cafeteria-style cooking, canning, and dishwashing more water-use efficient and just as convenient.

                      Central laundry facility with industrial-quality washing machines that reduce water use yet process double or triple loads.

                      Greywater from washing machines and dishwashing discharged into tree nursery.

                      Solar thermal steam room and bath house with Japanese-style family bathing pools.

                      Blackwater from bathing filtered by constructed wetlands.

 

Something to think about.

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