Survey Says Americans Conserve Water to Help the Environment

Survey Says Americans Conserve Water to Help the Environment

A December 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that most Americans say they’re changing at least one daily behavior to benefit the environment, and water conservation is one behavior change that does seem to be happening.

Overall the results are mixed, but water use is top of mind for many. As Pew notes:

One area where Americans have unquestionably reduced their environmental footprint is water use. About two-thirds (68%) say in our survey that they’ve reduced the amount of water they use for environmental reasons – and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, by and large they have.

Nationwide, daily residential water use fell from 97.5 gallons per person in 1995 to 81.7 gallons per person in 2015, the most recent year for which the agency has reported data. Over that two-decade span, per-capita daily residential water use fell in 35 states, in all regions of the country. Washington, D.C., though not a state, chalked up the biggest decline, as residential water use fell 61% between 1995 and 2015, from 171.5 to 66.6 gallons per person per day.

Of course large water users such as agriculture, power generation and manufacturing are where the vast majority of water goes every day. Residential water use (from public supplies and private wells) comprises about 8% of total water use (26.6 billion gallons per day), according to the USGS’s 2015 water report. That said, a change in at-home water use is what shifts societal norms and behavior as it regards efficiency, conservation and environmental protection.

[Pew Research Center]