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Old 01-31-2009, 08:53 PM
 
Location: Vermont
4,754 posts, read 9,246,059 times
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any idea what is a good "green" amount for 2 people in a house? just got the quarterly bill of 29,000 gallons!?!?!?!? or 241 gallons a day. it sounds embarassingly high to me???????????????????????

we have a energy* dishwasher, but not clothes washer. i just switched to a low flow shower head.

the one thing i can think of is that we were watering pretty heavily in September after we aerated and overseeded with some seed that, supposedly shouldn't need any additional water ones it grows. this was a bill for sep-jan.
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Old 01-31-2009, 11:41 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
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We just got an astronomically high bill as well, almost 3 times higher than our previous averages. We checked all the toilets and sinks for leaks, etc and eventually turned the water off to the house. We found out that there must be a leak in the underground service pipe between the meter and the house, because even with the water turned off the house, and the system completely drained, the meter was still spinning. Time to call in the plumping experts.

I'm sure we could do a bit better; but before this, our consumption used to avg about 700 cubic feet every two months. A cubic foot is about 7.5 gallons, so that's around 2625 gallons a month for two people with low flow shower heads, low flush toilets, and a water saving dishwasher and washing machine (we don't water our lawn). That comes up to about 40 gallons per person per day.

As for how much water is "green"... our rain catchment guide says to figure a minimum of 5 gallons per person per day for drinking, cooking and washing. But the avg in the US is 80-100 gallons per person.
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:09 AM
 
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As much as you can afford.
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Old 02-01-2009, 06:53 AM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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You either have a leak, a bad meter, have an awful lot of irrigation, or are letting your hose just run. Your max usage should be 8-10,000 gallons/quarter at most. That's based on what municipal systems estimate for a family of 4- 250/gallons/day (some use 350/day in areas where the houses are older and don't have the water saving toilets, etc.). I have 5 people, old toilets, hand wash dishes, top load washer (15-20 loads/week), water gardens, wash cars and my usage ranges between 22,000 to 25,000. Have had metered water since 1993 and that has been consistent. Check for leaks first, check your habits, have the meter checked. Or it could have been an one time reading because of your new lawn.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:00 AM
 
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Hi Joe,

Your question sparked a good deal of interest for me. We're living with significant water restrictions here because of the drought and the State government has just announced a new initiative.

It's called Target 155 and the aim is that each person cuts their water usage down to 155 litres per day.

Our Water, Our Future - Target 155 (http://www.ourwater.vic.gov.au/target155 - broken link)

Currently you are using 241 gallons between two people or 913.39 litres for the household per day.

With our current targets we are aiming for 155 or 310 litres for the household which is around 80 gallons.

I suspect you're not living with water restrictions, but I thought you might like to know what the expectation for water consumption is here.
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Vermont
4,754 posts, read 9,246,059 times
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We did a lot of irrigating in Sept-Oct. Furthermore, we had a "hgih flow" showerhead up until a few weeks ago (not sure of the GPM... but high....). Our meter is inside of our house, and the meter is in fact brand new. They just changed it over to one with a wireless transmitter so nobody has to come in the house to view the meter to report. We do not have any known leaks (faucet, etc.). I will see what else we can do. I am pretty sure that in previous quarters we were around 6000 gallons.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:51 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
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Since water flows in a big cycle: rain clouds, rain, ground surface water, aquafers, creeks, rivers, oceans, rain clouds.

And since no matter what you do with water, it still exists.

Water is not a finite resource.

Regardless of how much water you 'use', it is still on this planet with us, and you can use it again the next time that it passes through it's cycle.

No level of water usage is 'green', or black, or purple.

Water is.

To converse water as if it were a finite resource that we might run out of, is bad science.

If you are paying for your water usage [I don't, but I understand that urbanites do], use as much water as you are willing to pay for.

To me, water flows. It flows from uphill toward downhill. If I use a small bit of water, or if I use a large amount of water, it still continues to flow. I may temporarily divert some water from it's previous flow, to a leech field, but then it will once again continue it's journey.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:59 PM
 
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Wink Not that much

"The exact amount of water a human needs is highly individual, as it depends on the condition of the subject, the amount of physical exercise, and on the environmental temperature and humidity.[14] In the US, the reference daily intake (RDI) for water is 3.7 litres per day (italics mine) for human males older than 18, and 2.7 litres for human females older than 18."
Drinking water - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

3.7 litres is equivalent to .97 gallons (about 1 gallon). One also absorbs water from food, but consider how much you actually drink in day. I know I usually drink much less than a gallon of fluids, unless out in the sun all day, etc. But this mentioned as a baseline in how much water a human actually needs for life, irrespective of convenience or desire.

If so ordered one can be very aware of their water usage. On a camping trip for instance where one may carry every last drop they intend to drink (it is heavy). Or in one's house. I lived for a time in a house with a septic vault. Not a septic system where most fluids eventually leach into the ground, but a vault where absolutely everything going into it must at some point be pumped out. The average American uses roughly 159 gallons of water per day:
Consumption by the United States: Americans constitute 5% of the world's population but consume 24% of the world's energy.
As I recall by code such a residence had to be factored at 75 gallons per day per individual, times two (minimum), with a hedge added for a total of about 200 gallons per day. But consider that the average American family would probably have to be careful to use but 100 gallons per day (not including the lawn). A low flush toilet can use 1.2 gallons per flush (times how many times per day?). The common low flow shower head uses 2.5gpm (that's 2.5 gallons of water used per minute). At 100 gallons per day a 1,500 gallon septic vault would have to be pumped twice per month at a cost (in my case) at 13 cents per gallon. Such considerations tend to focus the mind.

I won't even go into the politics of this or the effects of climate change on such places as the American Southwest, but if an individual wishes no more than just to save some money there is a lot one can do. One needn't be masochistic either. Here are some tips:
Tips for Conserving Water Indoors | Water ‚€“ Use It Wisely

The more ambitious or adventurous might consider what is already being done in such places as Taos, NM:
Earthship Water System

But if the question how much water one absolutely needs, the answer roughly 3.7 litres per day.
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Old 02-01-2009, 02:26 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,728 posts, read 5,372,445 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by forest beekeeper View Post
Since water flows in a big cycle: rain clouds, rain, ground surface water, aquafers, creeks, rivers, oceans, rain clouds.

And since no matter what you do with water, it still exists.

Water is not a finite resource.

Regardless of how much water you 'use', it is still on this planet with us, and you can use it again the next time that it passes through it's cycle.

No level of water usage is 'green', or black, or purple.

Water is.

To converse water as if it were a finite resource that we might run out of, is bad science.

If you are paying for your water usage [I don't, but I understand that urbanites do], use as much water as you are willing to pay for.

To me, water flows. It flows from uphill toward downhill. If I use a small bit of water, or if I use a large amount of water, it still continues to flow. I may temporarily divert some water from it's previous flow, to a leech field, but then it will once again continue it's journey.
You're right, water doesn't cease to exist inthe grand scheme of things. However, clean water is a "rare" resource that needs to be conserved because that majority of water on the planet is not potable. That's why we have the concepts of clear, gray and black water. Clear water is potable, once we use it for bathing & washing it's gray water... perfectly acceptable to water lawns etc but you can't drink or cook with it anymore. Black water is polluted with pathogens (i.e. feces, chemicals etc) and you can't drink it, wash with it and it's not the best to put on your lawn either... it must be sedimented or treated in some way (either a septic/leach system or sewage treatment plant). That's why many people capture their gray water from sinks, showers and washing machine to water their lawns and gardens, and have a "dry" or composting toilet so they don't have a black water system at all. Really, it's such a waste to use pure clean water in a toilet or on your lawn.
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Old 02-01-2009, 03:06 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,885 posts, read 28,732,399 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissingAll4Seasons View Post
... Really, it's such a waste to use pure clean water in a toilet or on your lawn.
If you live within a localized region with a shortage of potable water, then perhaps you are correct.

I understand that in many urban areas they have messed it all up, but then again that is the difference between urban and rural.

I do not live within such a tiny localized region.

The water that flows in the creek next to my house is potable.

The water that is in my water table [accessible by my well] is potable.

The water in the river that my creek dumps into is potable [the river is 200 yards from my back door].

The only water that I have access to which is not potable is our grey and black waters.

It is not a waste to use water.
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