# How much water gets wasted every day in America?

• Asked By Mya
• Asked on November 14, 2009

This is from Alexander Levy’s science fair project. He is 7yrs old and lives in Hawaii.

If everyone in the country repaired the water leaks around their homes, we could save over 200 BILLION GALLONS EACH YEAR.  To answer it in days, divide by 365. (about 1/2 billion gallons a day)

How Much Water Are We Wasting by Not Fixing Leaks?

By Alexander Levy

INTRODUCTION:    According to http://www.waterconserve.org/ across America, freshwater supplies are becoming scarce and water efficiency is needed as never before. Examples are all around us: An epic drought in Georgia threatens the water supply for millions. Florida doesn’t have nearly enough water for its expected population boom. The Great Lakes are shrinking. Upstate New York’s reservoirs have dropped to record lows. And in the West, the Sierra Nevada snowpack is melting faster each year. According to http://www.monolake.org, the State of California uses almost 7% of its energy to pump and treat water. So, saving water also saves energy. Saving energy helps prevent global warming. Here at home, according to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply at http://www.hbws.org, our primary source of drinking water is groundwater: fresh water, filtered through mountain watersheds and held within the porous volcanic rock of the island. Our island water supply is a precious resource that requires our care and concern. To extend the life of this precious resource, we need to be more conscious of water conservation practices in our everyday lives. Leaks are the biggest water waster. A leak of one drop per second wastes 2,400 gallons of water per year! I decided to try to figure out how much water we could save by repairing the leaks around our homes.

PROBLEM:  Water is necessary for all life. It is a valuable and limited resource. How can we figure out how much water we can save by repairing leaks around our homes?

HYPOTHESIS: If I measure the amount of water that is being wasted by leaks in the homes near mine in one minute, I can estimate how much is being wasted in the entire City, Island, State, and Country every year. To get the most accurate results, I would have to check every single home for the whole year. By assuming that the other homes not measured would be similar to the ones that I do measure, knowing how many homes are, and assuming that the leaks that I find in one minute continue for the next year, I can estimate how much is being wasted by all the homes in a year.

METHOD: Honolulu Board of Water Supply at http://www.hbws.org described how to check a water meter for leaks I went to 10 houses checking their water meters. I wrote down how much the 1/100 gallon meter moved in 60 seconds.

 My data Address Water wasted (in gallons/minute) 224 Lumahai Place 0 230 Lumahai Place 0 236 Lumahai Place 0 242 Lumahai Place 0.002 245 Lumahai Place 0 248 Lumahai Place 0 251Lumahai Place 0.008 252 Lumahai Place 0.014 253 Lumahai Place 0 254 Lumahai Place 0.010

RESULTS:   Add the 10 results together and divide by 10. The average house leaked 0.0034 gallons/minute. So, the average house in my study leaks  0.0034 gallons/minute X 60 minutes/hour    X  24 hours/day x 365 days /year = 1787 gallons /year. Multiply that by the number of household in a given location to find the amount of water wasted by household leaks in a year.

 Location # of households Water leaked/year Honolulu 158,663 284,000,000 gallons Oahu 334,792 598,000,000 gallons Hawaii 506,737 901,000,000 gallons U.S. 127,901,934 229,000,000,000 gallons

The number of households came from the 2007 Census at http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/15000.html

CONCLUSION: If everyone in the country repaired the water leaks around their homes, we could save over 200 BILLION GALLONS EACH YEAR.

DISCUSSION: Six of the houses did not have leaks. I told the other four neighbors about their leaks and gave them blue dye tablets to check their toilets for leaks. These are available for free at City Mill. If I could check more houses, my results would be more accurate. For future year science projects, I plan to get classmates or friends to each check  10 houses, or will try to find kids around the country or the world to each check 10 houses and give me the results. If every child in the country checked 10 houses, we could find and fix all these leaks and save all this water.