Rainwater Harvesting: Estimating Home Water Usage

What is collected rainwater used for?

  • In-home non-potable water
  • In-home potable water
  • Outside landscapes
  • Outside animals, gardens, etc.

The average American uses between 70 gallons and 100 gallons per day from normal activities. For example, whenever a toilet is flushed it requires 1.6 gallons of water. In order to determine your total demand for water you need to consider the factors such as how large is your family, potential future family members, how often you have guests, how efficient your water using devices are and how frequently they are used.

Increasing the amount of non-potable water you used in your household can cut your potable water usage significantly. Non-potable water can be used for laundry and toilets alone and would cut your fresh water usage indoors by an astounding 55%.

Outdoor Water Demand

People often do not realize that the amount of water used outside the home is substantially greater than the amount of water used indoors. You must take into consideration the irrigation of plants and lawn as well as providing water for animals such as livestock. The amount of water used outdoors varies significantly from season to season and geographical location. The amount of irrigation you require is determined by rainfall and crop water requirements.You need to reference evapotranspiration and the crop water use coefficient.

Evapotranspiration (ET): The amount of water required in inches for plants to grow.
Crop Use Coefficient: A water use coefficient needed for a plant compared to Evapotranspiration.

Key Points of Rainwater Usage:

  • Be sure to include family members and potential family members when calculating indoor demand
  • Always consider the water use efficiency of your devices and home appliances
  • Calculate your required outdoor water usage with Evapotranspiration and the Crop Use Coefficient – tables for your state available online
  • Plan ahead
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1 Comment

  • Jeffery says:

    Thanks for this great post! I have been considering installing a rainwater collection system on my property and your posts thus far have been really informative and helpful.