Jump to main content or area navigation.

Outdoor Water Use in the United States

Reduce Your Outdoor Water Use

The average American household uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. More than half of that outdoor water is used for watering lawns and gardens. Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.

watersense outdoorWhy Save Water Outdoors?

Outdoor water use varies greatly depending upon geographic location. In dry climates such as the Southwest, a household's outdoor water use can be as high as 60 percent. In addition, some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.

It's usually not necessary to water grass every day. Instead, test your lawn by stepping on a patch of grass; if it springs back, it doesn't need water. Further your water savings by using regionally appropriate plants to create a water–smart landscape that is both beautiful and efficient to achieve the curb appeal you desire. Once established, native plants require little water beyond normal rainfall.

WaterSense Savings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense® program labels professional certification programs that advance water–efficient irrigation techniques and practices. If homeowners with irrigation systems hired irrigation professionals certified through a WaterSense labeled program to perform regular maintenance, each household could reduce irrigation water by 15 percent, or nearly 9,000 gallons annually.

Look for the WaterSense Label!

Acting like a thermostat for your sprinkler system, WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers tailor watering schedules to local weather conditions. The average family can save nearly 9,000 gallons of water annually by replacing a standard clock timer controller with a WaterSense labeled model.

EPA is also considering developing a specification for soil moisture-based control technologies, which water plants based on the amount of moisture in the soil and adjust irrigation schedules accordingly.

For more information and water-saving outdoor tips, visit www.epa.gov/watersense.

This document also available in PDF (1pg, 518K, About PDF).

Top of page