Residential (Including Multi-family)

Residential water use, both single-family and multi-family, is often the largest single demand sector for a water utility. Because of this fact, there has been considerable effort to document residential end uses to accurately determine patterns of residential water consumption. The most recent update to the Water Research Foundation’s definitive study on Residential End Uses of Water, Version 2  was released in 2016. The pie chart below shows the summary results.

Information on residential fixtures and appliances will be found in the Fixtures, Appliances and Equipment section of the AWE Resource Library. Additional information is available on AWE’s Home Water Works website

An additional method to reduce water use in showers is to turn off the water while lathering and shampooing. The method requires three steps:  1) turn on water to rinse body and hair; 2) turn off water while shampooing hair and washing body with soap and washcloth; and...

Leaks from pipes, plumbing fixtures and fittings are a significant source of water waste for water utilities and the residential customer. Research has shown that the typical home loses 2,000 to 20,000 gallons (7.6 m3 to 76 m3) of water per year due to leaks.

The size of the bathtub, and the level to which the user fills the tub, both affect the amount of water used. With the exception of whirlpool and jetted tubs, the size of standard bathtubs in North America has generally decreased over time. 

The Residential End Uses of Water, Version 2 is the 2016 companion to the classic 1999 end use study published by the Water Research Foundation. These studies carefully examined where water is used in single-family homes are the largest end use studies of their kind conducted in North America. 

Toilets are still the largest water use in the residential setting at 24% of water use, but showers are not far behind at 19%. It remains an area of water conservation savings opportunity. Two factors influence the water usage of a shower: flow rate and duration.

Water Saving Tips: Residential Water Use, Indoors and Outdoors