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Understanding Higher Water Usage in a COVID-19 World

7/9/2020 11:30:24 AM

  • Staying home to eat means you may be using more water for prepping food, cooking food, and cleaning dishes. A dishwasher can use 30 – 35 gallons of water per cycle, so ensuring you are only using it for full loads is important to conserving water.

  • If you wash dishes by hand—and that's the best way—don't leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run. This can save 200 to 500 gallons a month.
    • With many restaurants offering curbside and to go services, you may be eating takeout food from home more. This can result in added plates, silverware, and glasses to be cleaned, further increasing water usage.

  • Due to event and activity cancellations we are finding ourselves home more.
    • Being home more means we are tending to our gardens more. When we water our plants, vegetables, and gardens with hoses we are using an average of 2.5 gallons per minute.
    • Other outside activities, such as pressure washing our homes and washing our cars, can use 2.5 gallons per minute. If we spend an hour washing our car or pressure washing our home, we can be using 150 gallons. Water that comes out of our hose faucets increases our wastewater (sewer) billing amounts since wastewater usage is billed in a usage amount equal to water usage.
    • More time at home can lead to more toilet flushes a day. A toilet flush typically uses 1.6 gallons on newer efficiency toilets and can use 5-7 gallons per flush on older models.
      • A slow leak in your toilet can waste 30 gallons a day while a medium or large leak can waste between 200 and 300 gallons per day.
    • We may also spend more time cleaning our homes, using water to wipe down surfaces, wet towels, etc.
    • We may be showering more since we are at home and the shower is readily accessible. A shower can use 7-10 gallons per minute

  • Fewer or no vacations and trips to visit family and friends increases days in our home when we are using water.

  • Many people are now working from home or are spending more time at home. Being at home throughout the day causes an increase usage for things such as washing your hands, pouring a glass of water, cleaning, etc. The average person uses 70 gallons a day, and being home for an extra 8 hours can represent a 50% or greater increase in water usage for that person, which can add up to over 1,000 gallons per month.

  • If you have school aged children that have been out of school, you may be seeing a signifcant difference in last year's bill compared to this years.

  • We perspire more at this time of year and being home more can cause us to take more showers and wash clothes more. A typical washing machine uses 30-35 gallons of water per cycle, therefore it is important to limit your washes to full loads. 

  • As more of our usage goes above 3,000 gallons, more of our water is charged at the higher use rate ($.50 more per 1000 gallons)

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