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Water is one of the most vital natural resources for life on Earth. People use it for drinking, cooking, washing clothes, and bathing just to name a few. It is safe to say that the availability, quality, and quantity of water play a central role in shaping where people live and their quality of life.

For the majority of people living in the United States, they can simply turn on a tap and have access to some of the safest treated water in the world. However, other parts of the world are not so lucky. With water being such an important part of daily life, Alabama residents should understand how much water they use and the impact that has.

Alabama Water Usage

According to the National Environmental Education Foundation in Washington, D.C., approximately 365 million gallons of water are withdrawn and delivered every day for domestic use in Alabama.

  • The average Alabama resident uses approximately 76 gallons of water per day in and around the home. The largest household use of water is flushing the toilet, averaging 2 to 4 gallons per flush, depending on the age of the toilet.
  • Taking a shower uses approximately 2 to 5 gallons of water per minute. Baths use around 8.5 gallons of water.
  • Doing laundry uses approximately 25 gallons per load for new washers. Older model washers can use as much as 40 gallons per load.

Ways to Conserve Water

Why is conserving water such a big deal? Although the water cycle continuously returns water to Earth, water may not always return to the same place and be in the same quality and quantity.

If every Alabamian shaved one minute off of their shower, it would save 2.6 billion gallons of water each year. That’s enough to fill more than 3,900 Olympic-sized pools. In fact, there are a number of simple things to do in and around the home that can reduce the burden on local water supply and also save money.

  • Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth. Running water while brushing teeth wastes about 4 gallons of water.
  • Find and fix leaks. Household leaks, such as dripping faucets, worn toilet flappers, and other leaking valves, waste more than 90 gallons of water per day.
  • Improve outdoor watering. Nearly 50 percent of residential outdoor water use is wasted because of inefficient methods of watering. Select drought tolerant plants for gardens and landscape. Identify the best time of day to water lawns and plants.
  • Dishes and laundry. Washing dishes by hand uses up to 27 gallons of water per load versus 3 gallons with an energy efficient dishwasher. Run the dishwasher and washing machine for laundry with full loads.
  • Toilet flushing. Never use a toilet to flush cigarette butts, facial tissue, or other small bits of trash as this wastes gallons of water per flush. Consider replacing old toilets with low flow or dual flush toilets that can save families more than 15,0000 gallons of water each year.

Contact your county Extension office to learn more about water conservation.

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