Published: September 6, 2018

    How Much Water Do We Use on Labor Day?

    Labor Day marked the traditional end of summer in many communities, and with school about to be back in full swing most families took the opportunity to celebrate, unwind, and enjoy themselves during the three-day weekend. The airports and highways were packed: over 35 million Americans traveled during Labor Day weekend. About 16.5 million people flew to their destination, and the remaining travelers drove or took public transit.

    Americans engaged in all types of activities on Labor Day: backyard barbecues, museum visits, pool parties, and going out to eat. The combined increase of travel and recreation boosted the water consumption in the United States even more than on a typical business day. But just how much water did we use to commemorate the social and economic achievements of American workers?

    First, it’s helpful to contextualize how much water we use on a national level during a standard day. According to the Environmental Protection Agency the average American family uses approximately 300 gallons of water per day. 70% percent of that water use happens indoors, whether by flushing toilets, taking showers, doing dishes, or washing laundry.

    This figure can fluctuate considerably based on a family’s individual water use. Factors like WaterSense products and a commitment to conservation can reduce your family’s water footprint. Try our interactive water footprint calculator to determine the water use in your home.

    Now we have to consider the overall population of the United States: more than 325 million citizens currently live in the states, all of whom contribute to overall water consumption. Because we have such relatively easy access to clean drinking water Americans tend to use more water than necessary. The United States Geological Survey reports that 355 billion gallons of water are used per day in the country.

    When you crunch the numbers that comes out to over 1,000 gallons of water per person a day. How does that happen, if your home only uses a few hundred gallons per day? Domestic use does not account for all water use: in fact, the majority of water in the United States is reserved for industrial and agricultural use. The EPA calculates that only 12% of freshwater withdrawals go toward the public water supply.

    When you complete the water footprint calculator you learn that direct water use, like running a faucet, is only part of the picture. The clothes you wear, the meat you eat, and the gasoline you use to drive to the movie theater all require water to produce. Human activity and consumption drives up water use just as much as brushing your teeth or getting a glass of water from the tap.

    Because of the increased travel, purchases, consumption, and activity that happened on Labor Day the estimated daily usage of water increased significantly. Compared to the 1,092 gallons of water per person of usage during a typical day, we can assume the figure increased by at least 100 gallons.

    Luckily there are steps you can take on future holidays to reduce water waste and be mindful of your overall water consumption. Read our comprehensive list of 100 ways to conserve water and implement some water-saving measures during your next celebration.

    Fixing leaks, switching to water softener alternatives with salt free technology, and avoiding daytime lawn watering will all significantly cut down on water waste during holidays. Be sure to bring a bottle of filtered water to your next summer outing, and enjoy the last days of warmth before autumn arrives.