The Real Cost of Being Clean

By Lewis Braham - 2013-07-16T19:53:16Z

Photograph by Dougie Wallace/Gallery Stock

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Americans use about 100 gallons of water a day; that includes watering lawns. Europeans use half that, while sub-Saharan Africans use two to five gallons a day. Taking a bath requires up to 70 gallons of water; a five-minute shower, 10 to 25; flushing the toilet, 2 to 7. The average faucet flows at a rate of 2 gallons per minute. Water prices vary by city. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 in Boston, according to Circle of Blue, an environmental group. A quarter of household energy costs go to heating water, according to California’s Consumer Energy Center. That amounts to about $50 billion a year.