Author Topic: Frugal water users  (Read 799 times)

CCCA

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Frugal water users
« on: June 30, 2020, 03:45:27 PM »
We rented out our house for 5 months while we were traveling earlier this year and just checked our water bill to see how the tenants did (3 adults and 2 young children 3 and under).  They used 177 gallons per day in the middle of spring, which our water utility says is around average (164 gallons per day) for our household lot size and number of people.  However, last year the same time (our family of 2 adults and 2 school age children) used about 70 gallons per day so we are well below average. Our kids (and adults) don't shower everyday and try to minimize water usage.

We live in the SF Bay Area and took out our grass a few years ago and have a relatively small lots size (~4000 sq ft) with drought tolerant plants and a planter bed for veggies.  Our water rate is $4/unit of water which is 748 gallons or half of a cent per gallon.

I'd be interested to hear how much water your household uses and how many occupants, and details about your yard.

lexde

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2020, 03:54:41 PM »
By cutting animal products out of my diet, I save approximately 33,000 gallons of water each month.
That's about 1,100 gallons per day saved.

I don't pay my own water bill, but a quick search of estimated water consumption for my area is approximately 101 gallons per person per day, or 3,030 gallons per month, outside of the water needed to produce the food you eat.

The savings doesn't show up on my water bill or benefit me personally, but I'm okay with that.

Car Jack

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2020, 07:05:43 AM »
You know how I can tell you're in the west?

Here in New England, we have more water than we know what to do with.  A couple decades ago, the state mandated separate water meters on every home.  My hometown city sued the state to stop this requirement, where cities and towns in the western part of the state has so much water, they've never needed meters and adding them added un-necessary cost.  I remember annual bills for water of $15 at my parents' house, which included watering the lawn and winter flooding of our ice rink many times.  Once the meters were added, regardless of how much water was used, the bill became $15 for the water and $3 for the meter.

I get that the west has water shortages.  Too many people with limited water and all.  But the whole country doesn't have this problem.

mm1970

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2020, 02:28:42 PM »
Our typical pre-COVID usage was about 3-4 HCF a month, or about 87 gallons per day.

Post COVID, sheesh last month was 9 HCF.  Highest ever.  I think a lot of that was watering (we planted a new level of "low water" ground cover, but it needs watering the first month to take root), and the kiddie pool.

I expect we will even out at about 6 HCF, or so I hope.
I started taking Navy showers again, but that doesn't make much of a difference.
Our "lawn" is dirt.  We have a small garden with self watering containers.
My teenager takes long showers, but not often.
The kids aren't bathing that much this summer.  Sometimes we just take them to the beach.

I think just man...we are here 24/7 now, so we are drinking water, eating, washing dishes, peeing (but we don't flush after every use) all. day. long.

Pre-COVID, we were doing that at work, kids ate school lunch, far fewer dishes.

Christof

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2020, 02:45:22 PM »
We use 87 gallons/day which is about average in Germany as a family of three. We are not really saving water, because even our roof collects more water than we use. Electricity and heat that is more important because so far up north solar isn‘t working four month each out of year and daylight in winter is about 8 hours. We used a lot less water when we were living in an apartment rather than a single family home.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2020, 03:32:53 PM by Christof »

Caoineag

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 03:18:43 PM »
When we had a house, our average was below 70 gallons per day, most of the time 3 people but sometimes 2. We had low water using appliances which helped and a no water yard (unless I had just planted something). The funny part of it was we had a bill that would compare you to the lowest using neighbor in your area and we were that neighbor. Made me chuckle every time I  saw it.

blue_green_sparks

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2020, 04:07:37 PM »
You know how I can tell you're in the west?

Here in New England, we have more water than we know what to do with.  A couple decades ago, the state mandated separate water meters on every home.  My hometown city sued the state to stop this requirement, where cities and towns in the western part of the state has so much water, they've never needed meters and adding them added un-necessary cost.  I remember annual bills for water of $15 at my parents' house, which included watering the lawn and winter flooding of our ice rink many times.  Once the meters were added, regardless of how much water was used, the bill became $15 for the water and $3 for the meter.

I get that the west has water shortages.  Too many people with limited water and all.  But the whole country doesn't have this problem.

Yeah, down here in Florida we have a 3" artesian well that shoots water 6 feet in the air, no pump. The problem being that as the sea levels rise the aquifer will get salty and useless.

MudPuppy

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2020, 06:30:46 PM »
My water bill doesn't have much helpful info on it. It has a small graph that say "gallons" and the marks on it are 3, 6, and 9, but I assume that is not gallons per day, as we are almost always between 3 and 6 and our dogs drink a minimum of 2 gallons per day and we are both daily shower takers.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2020, 07:18:27 AM »
My wife and I generally run between 2,700 and 3,200 gallons per month.  So we are not particularly frugal by the standards of this forum, but we probably use less than the average American.  We practice selective flushing, but we still have old (3 gal/flush) toilets.  I shower daily; my wife usually goes a couple or three days between showers.  We have a few outside plants that we water, but we don't bother watering the lawn.  Our adult son still does his laundry at our house because he doesn't have a washer.  We drink mostly water, and we do almost all of our cooking at home.  We are retired, so we're home all day every day.

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2020, 07:26:28 AM »
You know how I can tell you're in the west?

Here in New England, we have more water than we know what to do with.  A couple decades ago, the state mandated separate water meters on every home.  My hometown city sued the state to stop this requirement, where cities and towns in the western part of the state has so much water, they've never needed meters and adding them added un-necessary cost.  I remember annual bills for water of $15 at my parents' house, which included watering the lawn and winter flooding of our ice rink many times.  Once the meters were added, regardless of how much water was used, the bill became $15 for the water and $3 for the meter.

I get that the west has water shortages.  Too many people with limited water and all.  But the whole country doesn't have this problem.

I've lived in the southeast and the Appalachians all my life, and any time that I've been on a city water system, usage has always been metered.  It has gotten progressively more expensive over the years.  Water and sewer are billed together and are both based on water usage.  The sewer rate has always been much higher than the water rate. 

Right now we're getting billed the base rate because we complained about needing to run massive amounts of water to clear the lines back when the city was having problems with frequent line breaks a few years ago.  So we get billed $76/month for water, sewer, and trash service combined, regardless of usage.  If we were getting billed based on our metered use of around 3,000 gallons per month, the bill would probably be close to $100.  So it definitely pays to conserve water.

StashingAway

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2020, 07:30:40 AM »
When we had a house, our average was below 70 gallons per day, most of the time 3 people but sometimes 2. We had low water using appliances which helped and a no water yard (unless I had just planted something). The funny part of it was we had a bill that would compare you to the lowest using neighbor in your area and we were that neighbor. Made me chuckle every time I  saw it.

We're that way with electricity. We are below the "most efficient neighbors" line. And WAY below the "average" line

chemistk

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2020, 08:31:44 AM »
I'll fess up - we're somewhere around 6k gallons a month usage, or about 200 gallons per day. 5 people (2 adults, 3 boys - 5,3,<1)

It's kind of hard to tell though, since our bill is quarterly and they round to the nearest 1k gallons. Our highest usage period was about 20k gallons per quarter, or 6.7k gallons per month (225ish per day).

I suspect the age of our appliances and how frequently things are washed is the biggest culprit. Our landlord has no interest in replacing our 18 year old dishwasher, 15 year old top-loader agitator washing machine, or 15 year old water heater, or the 1.5* gal/flush toilets. None of these units are even remotely eco friendly.

*Tank fill is adjusted to be as low as will successfully flush solid waste.

Having young boys, food/dirt/spit up/blowout/potty accidents (on their and our clothes, thanks kids!) mean we're running probably 8 (full machine) loads of laundry a week. Dishwasher is run every day and a half or so. Baths (shared water) for the boys every 3 days, and my wife and I average about 8 minutes of showering a day combined (I take a fast shower daily, she showers every couple days).

Our yard is hardly watered, maybe once a week if that, but I do wash our cars at home every 2 weeks or so.



YttriumNitrate

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2020, 08:39:28 AM »
My family has two adults (daily showers), two kids under 5 (almost daily baths), does lots of laundry (we have two washing machines), and since it has been warm we've been watering a bunch of trees planted in the spring and filling a kiddie pool at least four times a week (some of water does eventually also get dumped on the young trees). I was expecting my water usage to be pretty high, but the recent water bill only showed us using 145 gallons a day.

Our house is located less than 1000 feet from the world's second largest reservoir of liquid fresh water, so unlike some areas, there's not much of a need to conserve water.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2020, 09:11:24 AM »
We typically use 1 or 2 "units" of water a month.  I don't have any idea what that means.  But I do know that it means we can't do much to lower our water bill, because you get charged for 1 unit regardless.

The main reason I see that we save water over our neighbors is we do not water the lawn. It goes dormant in the late summer.  We also have very low flow shower heads and low flow toilets, and now that I pretty much never leave the house I shower less frequently.

kanga1622

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2020, 09:16:03 AM »
Looks like I am billed for water based on cubic feet of water. We were billed for 800 cubic feet of water last billing period. Same billing cycle last year was 600 cubic feet. Our meter cost is 50% or more of our water bill each month. So obviously using more with people at home all day, more frequent laundry due to increased usage of washcloths and towels, and my kids have discovered that baths are more relaxing than showers. We do drink a LOT of water every day (2-3 gallons for people and probably close to a gallon for the dog). So looks like we are currently averaging around 200 gallons of water used daily.

The kicker is that our sewer expense is based on our water usage. And the months used to estimate for the year were the high points of WFH so largest bills of the year.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #15 on: July 08, 2020, 09:59:28 AM »
I remember having a discussion with an economics graduate student years ago. He was studying water rates and found that in order to get people to dramatically change their usage they had to increase the price about 10x.

We live in the desert and our water/sewer/garbage bill normally runs about $75-100 per month. No real landscaping to irrigate so that's solely for drinking, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. Of that, the water portion is maybe $40 a month (and sewer is based on water usage). We have eight people in our family and have to do laundry and a load of dishes every day, if not twice a day. So even if the price of water doubled or tripled we would probably not change anything.

Plina

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #16 on: July 08, 2020, 10:17:26 AM »
I used about 800 gallons per month when I had long hair and that was cut in half to 400 gallons after I cut it short and installed a water saving device in the kitchen tap. That was in my previous apartment were I had a meter. I took daily showers although I don’t wash the hair daily. I also had a dishwasher and a washing machine.

Here the average usage is 37 gallons per day and person.

Dicey

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #17 on: July 08, 2020, 01:14:49 PM »
I have no idea what our water usage is because DH pays the bill, then shreds it. I'll try to remember to ask him when the next one arrives.

I'm answering because he may or may not work for a utility that provides water. There is a great deal of concern that we may be heading toward another drought in the Bay Area.

That may be TMI, but according to some, it's better than P2F.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Frugal water users
« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2020, 01:41:04 PM »
We use 66 gallons a day for a family of four when we're not watering the lawn or washing cloth diapers.  This is our first summer in the house so I'm interested to see what our water bill is with the lawn added.  We have pretty new water efficient appliances, don't pre-rinse our dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, and don't do daily showers/baths.  Other than that we don't really attempt to conserve much, so I'm a little surprised we're on the low end.