Mother Earth Living

Water Whiz Quiz: Test Your Water Usage Knowledge

How much do you know about water use?
By Natural Home Staff
July/August 2003
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1. Which bathroom activity uses an average of twenty gallons of water?
a) shaving
b) showering

2. What percentage of overall household water use gets flushed down the toilet?
a) 10 percent
b) 15 percent
c) 25 percent

3. Where is the most water used?
a) a toilet
b) a clothes washer
c) during a shower

4. How much water does a leaky faucet waste each year?
a) 30 gallons
b) 300 gallons
c) 3,000 gallons

5. Which uses the most water?
a) washing dishes by hand
b) washing dishes in a dishwasher


1. a) Shaving uses an average of twenty gallons of water. Save water by filling the sink instead of running water as you shave. And by the way, five to fifteen gallons of water stream out of a standard showerhead per minute, so limit your shower time, too.

2. c) Of all the water used in the home, about 25 percent gets flushed down the toilet. Minimize flushing and check to be sure your toilet doesn’t leak by adding food coloring to the tank. If it is leaking, color will appear in the toilet bowl within thirty minutes. (Flush as soon as the test is done, as food coloring may stain the tank.)

3. a) Toilets use 25 percent of a household’s water consumption, with clothes washers coming in a close second at 22 percent, and showers 17 percent. Installing low-flush toilets, washing full loads of clothes, and taking brief showers with a low-flow showerhead all save water.

4. c) At one drip per second, a leaky faucet wastes between 2,700 to 3,100 gallons a year.

5. a) A water-efficient dishwasher unit uses between eight and fifteen gallons of water. If it’s full when you run it, it probably uses less than you would use washing the same number of dishes by hand.

Sources: City of Lafayette, Indiana, Utility Department;; City of Westminster, Colorado;

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