Where does all my water go?

We use water around our homes to cook and clean, bathe and shower, wash our hands, flush the toilets, wash the cars, water the garden and lawn and countless other things we may even take for granted.

How much water gets wasted? Think about water leaks in and around your house. Let's look for visual or obvious leaks. First, walk around inside your house to make sure you aren't using water somewhere. Check for dripping faucets and running toilets.Look for water dripping and ponding under the sinks and around the toilets. Then check your faucets outside to make sure they are shut off, too.

If you have a dripping faucet, try to turn the faucet to stop the drip. You shouldn't have to torque the handle of the faucet to make the leak stop. If you have to over tighten the faucet handle or can't stop the faucet from dripping, you've identified atleast one problem. Replacing the washers or the complete faucet set is not too difficult a task for most do-it-yourselfers. Home improvement and your old fashioned neighborhood hardware stores have very helpful people. If you aren't up to tackling the repair, you may have to hire a plumber.

Once all the obvious leaks are fixed we are going to check the water meter to detect water leaks that may not be visible. (i.e. possibly an underground pipe)

While still not using any water inside the house or from the outside faucets, walk to the water meter and check to see if the meter is moving. My low flow indicator appears as small blue triangle that spins when small amounts of water is flowing through the meter. (See the picture, the small blue triangle between "25" and the red pointer.) If the small triangle or the red pointer is spinning, water is passing through the meter and you may have a leak somewhere. (The red pointer movement indicates a lot of water is flowing.) Beware that your ice-maker or water softener may activate automatically while you are watching your meter for leaks. Observe the meter readings over several minutes to a couple of hours to more accurately detect any leakage.

How much water we really use and maybe identify places that we can cut back on. Saving water generally means saving money. Even a small water leak is just like flushing money... well, down the toilet. Altering your landscaping can conserve water as well.

A leak of just 1 drop per second can easily waste over 3000 gallons per year. (That's as much water as many families use in one month that gets wasted by a single drip.)

San Antonio acquires the vast majority of it's water underground. Water bubles up from the Edwards Aquifer to form the San Antonio river and thus the San Antonio Riverwalk.

If you have standing water in your water meter box, contact your water company for advice. Checkout the San Antonio Water System website for a lot of water conservation resources and ideas.

Just how much water does it use?

Here are some ballpark averages of how much water each uses.


  • 5 to 8 gal/min for older standard shower heads
  • 2.5 gal/min for low-flow
  • Less than a gal/min for ultra-low flow


  • 5 to 7 gal/flush for older standard models
  • 1.6 gal/flush for low-flush toilets
  • Dual flush toilets 1.6 gal/flush and .8 gal/flush


  • 30 to 50 gal/load for standard top loaders
  • 15 to 24 gal/load for front loaders


  • 13 to 25 gal/load for older models
  • 8 to 11 gal/load for high efficiency models
  • 6 gal/load for high end ultra effecient models


  • 1.5 to 3 gallons for washing hands with faucet aerator
  • 4 to 10 gallons for washing hands without faucet aerator

Leaky faucet

  • 1 drip per second wastes about 300 gallons per month