How Many Bathtubs of Water do You Use Each Day?

Written by Matt Barrett on . Posted in Learn

Do you shave, brush your teeth, and/or do the dishes with the faucet running the whole time? Enjoy long hot showers? Do less than full loads of laundry with the dial set on “large” load? You might be a three-bathtubber

On Wednesday, we blogged about a new study by The Nature Conservancy’s vanguard scientist (sweet job title!) Rob McDonald and Conservancy scientist Carmen Revenga. The paper, which was published by PNAS, took a look at the challenge of maintaining sustainable water supplies to accommodate growing populations in cities around the world and despite impacts from climate change (e.g. longer droughts).

The paper focused primarily on impacts to international cities and found that nearly one billion people may have access to less than 2/3 of a bathtub per day of water (less than 100 liters). The World Health Organization sites 100 liters as the minimum that a person needs each day.

For context, the typical American uses 2 to 5 times that amount per day. A full tub is about 150 liters, so if you used five times the minimum of 100 liters you’d be the three-bathtubber I was talking about!

In the video above, Rob invites us into his home (and his bathroom) to learn just how quickly a bathtub of water gets used up in a normal day.

How much do you think you use? Share in the comments section below.

Matt Barrett is marketing manager for climate change at The Nature Conservancy

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Comments (7)

  • Diana

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    This is my biggest pet peeve, the argument I get is that it’s all recycled, so what’s the big deal. I try to explain all the costs (monetarily, fossil fuels, pollution, etc) but they think I’m just one of those ecology freaks.

    Reply

  • Vancouver Sue

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    I think that these two still don’t “get it.” What did they do with that bathtub full of water? They poured it all down the toilet, and then gave it an extra flush for good measure.

    I was recently involved in a discussion in our online newspaper forum about water bills. I was appalled at how much others were paying for their water relative to what I pay for mine. Granted, I am outside of the city limits, and am on septic, not sewer. Also, there are only two of us, no small children at home anymore. But still, my bills are about $33 every two months, while others were reporting bills in the $200+ range every two months.

    My family has been through some drought summers on a small water system. We were asked to conserve water, and we took many measures that have stuck with us. Toilet flushing: “if it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” Dish washing: by hand, in the sink, with plugs and a dishpan to collect the rinse water. Clothes washing: front loader. Shower: flow restricter. Lawn: it gets watered when it rains. During the summer, it is allowed to go dormant. Veggie garden: soaker hose, set on a timer. Drinking water: good quality filter, does not waste water. How much do we use per person on average? I just did the calculations, based on our most current water bill. Per person, we use 188.76 liters per day. A little over 1 bathtub per person per day. Not too bad!

    Reply

  • Anna Porter

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    Great graphic representation of how much water Americans use. I only wish that you had not just flushed perfectly good water down the toilet when you could have saved it to use for flushing the toilet as needed or watering plants. That would have been an extra good example for viewers on how to conserve water. It’s bad enough that we use potable water to flush our toilets anyway.

    Reply

  • Phillip J Greene

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    My wife and I shower exclusively. We don’t use tubs. We take a bucket into the shower with us to catch as much water as possible and place one in the two kitchen sinks. This water is used to water plants. It’s not a great deal of a bother and our plants are thankful. We live in bone dry southern Arizona.

    We also have a small circulating pump on the hot water heater heater so when we want hot water it can be readily available with very little run time. The bath is the farthest room from the WH. It is programmable to come on at times we most use it like first thing in the AM.

    Reply

  • Phillip J Greene

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    Too bad you didn’t save the water in the video that you poured down the drain! You could have water house plants or outdoor planting. Shame on you.

    Reply

  • JAVS

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    Camping experience makes one conscious of water use. I’m now retired and live alone, and I try to conserve water in many simple ways. Only flush after a BM. (“If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”) Take only two showers a week in the winter and three in the summer. Turn off the water when I’m brushing teeth. Never run the dishwasher unless it’s full. Wear all clothes (except underwear) for two days before washing them. Reuse all boiling water (pasta, potatoes, etc.) for soup. I think I may get by on less than a bath-tub a day.
    What will we do if we ever have to deal with something like the catastrophe in Japan.

    Reply

  • Alex Russell

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    I have been very frugal about using water ever since I remember; and this doesn’t make me a filthy man. I am as neat and clean as those who go beyond 100 liters a day.
    Too many of us don’t realize that drinking water is as precious as saving tiger or Blue Whale. It’s all about learning to adjust and use it in the best possible manner.
    It was such a pleasure to watch this video :-)
    Thank you Nature!

    Reply

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