Water is one of the Earth’s most essential resources. All life depends on it. Here in Colorado’s Front Range, we live in an arid region; only about 19 inches of rain and snow falls annually. The precipitation from rain and snow must meet the growing demands of municipal, agricultural, industrial, and recreational users, while also satisfying the needs of downstream users. The legacy of Prior Appropriations, the system of law under which water in the West is governed, assures that older claims to water have priority over any latter claims, making growth and securing new supplies of water a monumental task. In recent years, environmentalists have brought to light the value of protecting in-stream flows and working to assure that waterways sustain minimal flow levels to satisfy ecosystem needs.
Given the daunting task of stretching a limited supply of water to meet many growing demands, water managers are realizing that increasing the efficiency of water use is by far the most logical and cost-effective route to achieving this goal. When considering simple facts, such as the statistic that over half of the average household’s daily water is used on the landscape, the opportunities to be more efficient become readily apparent. The CRC is working to help residents make lasting changes in water consumption and to further the efficient and wise use of our most precious resource.
How Much Water Do You Use?
Use your water bill to find out your household’s daily water consumption and your per-person water consumption in gallons. You can also compare your summer use to your winter use. Here is how:
- Choose a 12-month period from the 3-year history on the back of your bill.
- On average, 90 percent of your winter water use is a good indicator of how much water your household uses indoors. Add the December, January, February and March usage. Divide by 4, then multiply by 0.9 to get your estimated average monthly indoor usage.
- Multiply your average (from step 2) by 12 to get your annual indoor use. Typical indoor uses include bathing, showering, cooking, dishwashing, laundering and toilet flushing. If your indoor use is more than 27,000 gallons per person per year (or 2,200 gallons per person per month) your household could benefit from indoor conservation measures.
- Subtract your annual winter use from the total year’s use from your bill. The remainder is your outdoor use, including evaporative cooling, landscape watering, car washing and similar uses.
- Divide the annual winter use by the total annual use, then multiply by 100. This is the percentage of your water that is indoor use.