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REPORT: Despite drought, Californians still used more water than the US average

Written by Josh | November 17 , 2017

According to a US Geological Survey report, Californians slashed water use by 17% between 2010 and 2015.  But as of September 2017, Californians still use 110 gallons per person per day for outdoor and indoor consumption – much higher than the national average of 82 gpd. 

And worse, Californians used fourteen gallons more, per person, in September 2017 than they did two years prior, during the worst year of the drought. 

It should come as no surprise to those that live here that Californians, on average, use more water per capita than the U.S. average. 

A common, fallback explanation when this statistic is discussed is California's lack of rainfall compared to some other states. But is this really an explanation, or just an excuse?

Let's get one thing straight: No rational person is complaining about wasting water that is used for drinking (a healthy amount of drinking water is only about half a gallon per day), and no rational policy maker is saying California's water problem is due to overpopulation.

The real problem is not how many people we have, but how we continue to use water despite how many people we have.

Why do we use, on a state-wide average, more than 50% of all of our household water on landscaping? Why is roughly a third of our indoor water used to flush toilets? Are there ways to utilize technology that would allow us to use non-potable water for these applications instead? Or is there a way to dispose of toilet waste without using water at all?

Of course!

Not only do all of these technologies exist today, but we could slash half of our residential water use simply by changing our plantings in our yards to something more climate appropriate. It’s literally that easy!

And for those of us who like our non-native plantings, well, there are still grey water systems out there that: 

  1. Meet building code requirements
  2. Make your overall water use much more climate appropriate, and
  3. Give your landscape the look you want

Just as construction practices have changed since the 1960s, so too will they continue to do so. Growing populations in these resource-stressed regions we've grown to love have made the need for constant innovation completely inevitable.

We have not reached the pinnacle of home building, and nor are we ever likely to. So, let's become more comfortable – and open! – about the idea that homes 50 years from now will be different from those being built today.

"Necessity is the mother of invention," as they say!

Josh Fuller, Marketing & Sales

Josh Fuller is a 3-year team member at Nexus eWater and leads Nexus’ inside sales and marketing activities. Josh earned his BA in Communication and Information Sciences in 2009 and his MBA in 2014, both from The University of Alabama.