Water use varies based on many different factors, but everyone can take steps to conserve. Follow our steps below to get started saving like a pro.
Step 1: Add up your water use.
This home water use calculator can help you estimate how much water is used indoors based on a series of questions about your home. Once complete, consider if there are areas where water use could be reduced based on the recommendations.
Step 2: Choose water-efficient appliances.
Average water use per person is around 55 gallons per day for indoor use yet can vary widely based on the age of plumbing fixtures and appliances, and personal habits. Plumbing fixtures and appliances in older homes may use significantly more water than newer models that have been redesigned to meet efficiency standards.
A comparison of common household appliances demonstrates how small changes can make a big difference:
|Typical 1990s Plumbing and Appliances||Efficient Plumbing and Appliances|
|INDOOR USES||FLOW RATE||GALLONS USED||FLOW RATE||GALLONS USED|
|Shower||2.5 gallons per minute||18||1.75 gallons per minute||14|
|Toilet||1.6 gallons per flush||8||1.28 gallons per flush||6.4|
|Bathroom sinks||1.5 gallons per minute||4.5||1 gallon per minute||3|
|Kitchen sink||2.2 gallons per minute||11||1.5 gallons per minute||7.5|
|Clothes washer||40 gallons per cycle (top loader)||11.4*||12 gallons per cycle (front loader)||3.4*|
|Dishwasher||6 gallons per cycle||2.1**||3.5 gallons per cycle||1.2**|
*If the average person uses the clothes washer twice a week, the figure above is the daily average of one week's use.
**If the average person uses the dishwasher two-and-a-half times a week, the figure above is the daily average of one week's use.
Step 3: Set a goal for you and your family.
While every home and person is different, setting a goal can help you and your family better understand and track water use. Start by multiplying the number of people in your home by 55 gallons per day (GPD) to establish an indoor water budget. This number may need to be adjusted based on your home’s characteristics and your family’s individual needs.
# of people in the home X 55 GPD = your water budget
Feeling like a supersaver?
Try setting your goal for 35 gallons per person per day.
# of people in the home X 35 GPD = your water budget
If you have an EBMUD account, your billing statement from January/February will include the actual average gallons per day (GPD) used at your home. Water use during January/February is usually representative of indoor use, as irrigation is off during this time. Here is more information on understanding how to read your water bill.
If your actual gallons per day is higher than your budget, and you have older plumbing fixtures and appliances, EBMUD can help you save with the following programs and services.
- My Water Report Program: EBMUD offers a free online portal to all customers to help track and manage water use. Set up leak alerts and high use notifications via email or text messages.
Home Survey Kit: Order a free kit, which includes illustrated step-by-step instructions for testing for commons leaks and measuring the flow rate of your showerheads and sinks.
Efficient showerheads and faucet aerators: To request free devices, first complete and return the Home Survey Kit. Devices will be mailed to you if needed.
Step 4: Set an outdoor water budget.
First, determine the approximate square footage of irrigated landscape in 100 square foot units (10 feet by 10 feet).
Then, use the table below to calculate your outdoor water budget. Fill in the 100 square foot areas for lawns and shrubs. Multiply the number of 100 square foot sections of landscaping by the gallons per day multiplier in the table. Add the lawn and shrub numbers together. This is your outdoor water budget, which varies based on microclimates, plant selection, and irrigation equipment, but helps establish as baseline for understanding outdoor water use.
|For areas East of the Oakland Hills:|
(100 sq. ft. units)
|X||GALLONS PER DAY|
(per 100 sq ft.)
|=||TOTAL GALLONS per day|
|Total outdoor water budget||=|
|For areas West of the Oakland Hills:|
|AREA (100 sq. ft. units)||X||GALLONS PER DAY (per 100 sq ft.)||=||TOTAL GALLONS per day|
|Total outdoor water budget||=|
To compare your outdoor water budget with your outdoor/summer water use, subtract your average winter use (step #3) from your highest summer average gallons per day (GPD) shown in a July/August bill.
If your summer water use is higher than the budget above, you may have room to conserve.
EBMUD's Landscape Rebate Program: Receive a rebate for converting lawn areas to WaterSmart landscaping and/or replacing irrigation equipment with efficient technology.
Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates: EBMUD’s award-winning book is full of ideas and inspiration to help you plan your new landscape.
Flowmeter Rebate: EBMUD offers a rebate for the purchase of a flowemeter, which is a device either installed on your existing EBMUD water meter or directly in-line with your water pipes. Flowmeters use remote sensing technologies to monitor usage in near real-time, sending this information to an online portal for customers.