Household Water Use
How much water do we use?
In 2021, the Town of Cochrane Water Treatment Plant produced 3008 million litres of water — approximately 1983 million litres was consumed in residential homes.
The average residential home used 416 litres/day during the winter and 527 litres/day during the summer. On a monthly basis, this works out to an average consumption of 12.3 cubic metres (12,300 litres) and 15.5 cubic metres (15,500 litres) respectively.
Concerned about your water use? Things to check in your home:
- A leaking toilet can waste a small or large amount of water. If the flapper doesn't close after a flush, hundreds of litres per hour can run through a toilet. A small leak may be quiet and hard to detect, but can add up over the month. Check for quiet leaks by putting food colouring in your tank. If the colour runs into the bowl, you have a leak. Colour tabs are also available from the Town of Cochrane.
- Check your furnace humidifier flow. If the water supply valve has malfunctioned, the flow may be too high. A flow-through humidifier should only use about 45 litres/day, or 1 to 2 litres per furnace run cycle. The easiest way to check the flow is to monitor the flow out of the drain line when the furnace is running. When the furnace is off, there should be no flow!
- Do you have a water softener? Check that it is not stuck in the regenerate cycle. If the regenerate cycle doesn't stop when it should, hundreds of litres per hour will flow through the softener and down the drain.
- Irrigation systems should be checked for leaks during the irrigation season. Always ensure the system has been winterized and the inside control valve is closed at the end of the season.
- Outside taps should be shut off inside the home during the winter months to prevent leakage outside.
- In-floor heating systems. An in-floor heating system that uses hot water supplied from the hot water tank could be leaking under the concrete slab.
- Family habits and behaviour. Does someone in your family like long showers or daily baths? Did you have company for more than a few days? Were the kids home from school? Changes to your regular routine can have an impact on water use.
- If you’re going away, remember to shut your water off!
Examples of household water use:
- A 10-minute shower with a low-flow shower head (7.6 litres/min) equals 76 litres per person
- One dishwasher load uses 40 litres
- A load of laundry in a high efficiency machine uses about 45 litres of water; an older inefficient machine would use 140 litres
- Toilet flushing uses 48 litres per day (assuming four uses per day per person at 4.8 litres/flush)
Household Conservation Tips
- Be vigilant of leaking toilets.
- When washing your hands (20 seconds or the chorus of your favourite song), shut-off the tap.
- When brushing your teeth, shut-off the tap.
- Take shorter showers (5 mins), which use less water than baths.
- Scrape, rather than rinse, plates before loading the dishwasher.
- Feeling chilled? Wrap up in a blanket rather than soak in a hot bath.
- Dishwashers use less water than washing by hand, but be sure to run a full load.
- Older clothes washers without a load-sensing feature – wait for a full load.
Check out this complete guide on household water use published by CMHC.
The Town of Cochrane uses two different types of water meters to measure the water consumed at your house. Meters installed from mid 2011 until now are called iPerl (below); meters installed before mid 2011 are called SRII and have a simple analog dial read out on the meter head.
Approximately 11450 homes are equipped with radio transmitters (left) that are used to collect monthly meter reads. 72 percent of the radios are equipped with the function of storing hourly meter readings for 35 days.
To help track down a water leak in your home, complete an overnight test:
- Just before bed, read your water meter. Your water meter is located in your basement, near the furnace or hot water tank.
- In the morning, before using any water read the water meter again. Calculate the amount of water used overnight.
The iPerl water meter has a digital display that reads water use to the hundred millilitre (last digit on the right); for billing purposes the Town of Cochrane reads the meter to the litre (second last digit on the right) .
The SRII meters are typically read to whole cubic meters.