How much water do you think you use every day?
According to the EPA, it may be more than you think, with Americans using an average of 82 gallons of water every day.
According to a report from Bluefield Research, a water market research firm, the average combined water and sewer bill for the typical U.S. household is over $111 a month — a 43% jump over the last decade.
But as heat waves and droughts send rates going up, some small fixes could help shave a few dollars from your bill each month.
Candice Hasenyager, the director at the Utah Division of Water Resources, says it's easy for utility rates to soar in times of economic and environmental insecurity.
"Everything is costing more, right from our food to our water to our water infrastructure to the pipes that go into the ground. All of that can contribute," she said, adding that the ultimate cost of maintaining water supplies comes down to taxpayers and customers.
In Utah specifically, Hasenyager estimates there is about $38 billion worth of water infrastructure needs, which she says can definitely increase the amount of water bills.
To start cutting back, Hasenyager recommends doing a full audit of the water use in your home.
According to the EPA, people use the most water in their bathrooms, accounting for more than 50% of all indoor water use.
The EPA says buying toilets, showerheads or faucets stamped with a WaterSense label, which are EPA tested products that can use at least 20% less water than normal bathroom fixtures, can make a big difference.
You can also look for an Energy Star label on dishwashers and washing machines. The appliances may be pricier upfront, but likely pay off in the long run.
"Toilets make up roughly about 24% of the water use in our house. And so getting to high efficiency toilets can really reduce how much water we're using in our homes," said Hasenyager.
If you can't afford your water bill — don't panic. Call the utility company instead as it may have an assistance program, or be able work out a payment plan with you.
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