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Just How Much Water Do You Use A Day?

Author: Sherryn de Vos
Date: 2017-04-30
With the ongoing water restrictions, and proposed increase in water tariffs in Cape Town, we look at how much water you use at home.
Currently, residents of the Western Cape are faced with two water dilemmas. We are all painfully aware of the water crisis that we have found ourselves in. Most have cut back on the general amount of water used on a daily basis.  The reuse of grey water for inside the home, as well as gardens, has increased as dam levels reach critical levels. Cape Town residents are also facing the possibility of an increase in basic fees for electricity and water. The City of Cape Town has proposed various increases in services that will see residents paying more for water used at home. With all of this in mind, we thought we would take a look at just how much water you use at home on a day-to-day basis. Do you know how much brushing your teeth takes? Or washing the dishes? These basic activities will actually shock you!

A Look At The Basics

Let’s start with a basic morning routine. You wake up, pop the kettle on, take a shower, brush your teeth, flush at least twice, and, generally, get ready. This, alone, uses 294l, and it's only morning! Let’s break it down:
Activity Per Minute Total
Shower (average of eight minutes) 15l 120l
Bathing 10-20l 60-150l
Coffee   1.7l
Breakfast   15l
Wash Up     40l
Toilet 9l (per flush) 18l
Brushing teeth (running water) 5l 10l

Basic Appliances

If you have a washing machine, or dishwasher, this is how much they are using each time:
Washing Machine Twin Tub 40 l per wash
Washing Machine, Front Loader 90l per wash
Washing Machine, Top Loader 170l per wash
Dishwasher 20-50l per load

Daily Activities

These include the basics that you do on a day-to-day basis. Everything from washing your hands, to general cooking, eating, and drinking water.
Activity Per Minute Total
Washing your hands/face 15l 120l
Dripping Tap 1l 60l
General Cooking and cooking 10l per minute 150l

Outdoor Usage

At the moment, there are harsh restrictions on any kind of watering of plants, and filling up pools. Based on the below graph, you can see why! There are several alternatives to keeping that garden alive and watering those dry and dying plants. Either save grey water from the shower, or other activities, or create a direct feed straight into the garden! All in all, try and re-use water as much as possible.
Sprinkler or hose 10-20 L per minute 1000 L per hour
Washing car with running hose 10-20 L per minute 100-300 L
Filling a swimming pool   Up to 55,000 L
  In total, it is thought that an average person uses around 80 to 100 gallons of water a day. This is around 3000 to 5000 litres, or three to five kiloliters. Based on the proposed fee hikes, residents won’t be getting the basic six kiloliters for free anymore. This will start at the basic rate of R4.56. How much water do you use on a daily basis?

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