Water Consumption Volume
Collectively, Americans consume 110.83 million gallons per day and over 40 billion gallons per year. Of that:
- 33.4% (13.87 billion gallons per year; 38.0 million gallons per day) is consumed as bottled water.
- 27.6% (11.16 billion gallons per year; 29.7 million gallons per day) is consumed as unfiltered tap water.
- 38.1% (15.41 billion gallons per year; 42.9 million gallons per day) is consumed as filtered tap water.
While, of course, not evenly spread (e.g., with some not filtering their water at all, some drinking only filtered, some drinking a mix), that means that the average American consumes:
- A third of a gallon of water per day, or 122.46 gallons per year
- 0.12 gallons per day, or 42 gallons per year, of bottled water
- 0.13 gallons per day, or 47.5 gallons per year, of filtered water
- 0.09 gallons per day, or 32.9 gallons per year, of unfiltered water
All of our data points and calculations are given in detail below.
Total Water Consumption
- According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (the abstract of the original report is available here), the average American consumes 3.18 liters of water a day.
- However, 48% of that intake comes from beverages other than drinking water and another 18% is absorbed from food.
- This means that only 40%, or about 1.27 liters a day (3.18 x 0.4), of an American's water intake is pure drinking water. This comes to 463.55 liters, or 122.46 gallons, per year.
- The US population is currently estimated at just under 330.2 million.
- This gives us a total US drinking water consumption of 419.35 million liters per day (1.27 x 330.2 million) and just over 153 billion liters per year (419.35 million x 365 days).
- In gallons, that comes to 110.83 million gallons per day and over 40 billion gallons per year.
Bottled Water Consumption
- America's per capita consumption of bottled water is over 42 gallons per year, meaning that 34.3% (42 / 122.46) of all water consumption is from bottled water and 65.7% is tap water (either filtered or unfiltered).
- Note that 72% of Americans regularly drink bottled water, which suggests that, on average, those who consume bottled water consume an equal amount of tap water.
- That means that the average American consumes 0.12 gallons, or 0.45 liters, of bottled water per day (dividing by 365 days).
- This comes to a total US bottled water consumption of 13.87 billion gallons per year and 38.0 million gallons per day (multiplying both by the US population of 330.2 million).
Filtered/Unfiltered Water Consumption
- 42% of Americans "do not take any steps to purify their home drinking water." Ergo, 58% do, primarily through fridge filters (24%) and/or filter pitchers (18%).
- Given that 65.7% of water consumption that comes from the tap (see above), 27.6%(0.657 x 0.42) of all water consumption is unfiltered tap water and 38.1% (0.657 x 0.58) is filtered tap water.
- Therefore, of the 80.46 gallons of tap water that the average American drinks per year (122.46 gallons - 42 gallons of bottled water), 46.67 gallons are filtered (80.46 x 0.58) and the remaining 33.79 gallons are unfiltered. (Of course, this is not evenly spread; some drink all filtered water, and some drink none.)
- This comes to 0.13 gallons (46.57 / 365), or about half a liter, of filtered water and 0.09 gallons (33.79 / 365), or just over a third of a liter, of unfiltered water per day.
- Ergo, Americans collectively drink 15.41 billion gallons of filtered water and 11.16 billion gallons of unfiltered water per year (multiplying each by the US population of 330.2 million).
- Per day, that comes to 42.9 million gallons of filtered and 29.7 million gallons of unfiltered water (multiplying each by the US population of 330.2 million).