Just the Facts :: Water Footprints

How much water do we use? More than any other country, it turns out. And we could save a lot.
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U.S. Water Footprint

A water footprint is the water you use directly—for things like drinking, bathing, and laundry—plus the water used to make the products and energy you use and to grow food.

Below is a sampling of countries’ per capita annual water footprint.

The world’s biggest is the United States; the world’s smallest is Yemen.

U.S. Water Footprint

YES! Magazine Graphic, 2010

Indoor Water Use

In the U.S., indoor direct use for the average person is 69.3 gallons a day.

Here’s how that breaks down:


YES! Magazine Graphic, 2010

Outdoor Water Use

Indoor/Outdoor Water Use

Direct use for a family of four in the United States is 400 gallons a day.

30 percent of that is for outdoor use: 30 gallons per person.

That’s how much a person uses for everything in Algeria.


Berit AndersonBerit Anderson researched this fact sheet for Water Solutions, the Summer 2010 issue of YES! Magazine. Berit is an editorial assistant for YES! Magazine.



Hoekstra, A.Y. and Chapagain, A.K. (2008) Globalization of Water: Sharing the Planet’s Freshwater Resources, Blackwell Publishing; Amy Vickers, Handbook of Water Use and Conservation, and EPA WaterSense.


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