Water Use in Homes

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Water Use in Homes
Clothes Washer Dishwasher Toilet Faucets Gray Water Rainwater Lawn Trees

Clothes Washer

82% of homes in the U.S. have their own washing machines. And about 21% of an average Texas home's indoor water use is from this appliance. New efficient clothes washers can save over 71% of the water used by a machine sold only a few years ago.


Dishwashers did not appear in people's residences until after W.W. II. Today they are are in 2/3 of America's homes. Water use in the best machines made today has plummeted almost 90% from the wasteful models of the 1960s.

To save even more water on dish cleaning, run the machine as fully loaded as possible, or use the "Smartwash" function for lightly soiled dishes.


Toilets can use about 28% of an average Texas home's indoor water consumption. New efficient models can save about 2/3 of the water used in models sold prior to 1994. Given how long porcelain fixtures last, there are still many of these old units still in existence.


Faucets and showers can use about a third of an average Texas home's indoor water consumption. Low-flow showerheads, aerators, and new efficient WaterSense fixtures can save about 12% of this.

Gray Water

Almost 60% of all indoor water use in an average Texas home can be reused as gray water for irrigation of lawns and trees without health concerns. In a typical home, this can be over 45,000 gallons a year.


In a normal year, a Central Texas home with 2,500 square feet of roof can provide all of its indoor water needs for 3 or 4 people with rainwater. Appliances and pipes can last longer because they are not exposed to mineral sediment.


About 1/3 of Residential water consumption in Texas is used outdoors, most of it on lawns.

If starting a new lawn, choose drought-tolerant or native grasses. Put down at least 6 inches of soil, though the more the better. (18 inches is not out of the question.) And make sure you put down quality soil with organic matter that will supply nutrients and retain water.

For new and existing lawns, water grass as little as once every 5 days. This conserves water by forcing grass to form deeper roots. Consider using soaker hoses to saturate the ground and reduce water waste. And water during the evening or early morning instead of the heat of the day to reduce evaporation.


Don't water the trunk! Water the feeder roots, starting at 1/3 of the distance between the trunk and the canopy, up to 3 feet outside the canopy. Saturate to a depth of 6 to 8 inches, watering 40 to 90 minutes in one place at a time. Consider using a soaker hose to eliminate sprinkler losses. A mature 30-inch diameter tree only needs about 165 gallons a week. And water at night or early morning to limit evaporative losses.

With mulch, cover the feeder roots, not the trunk.