Water is the essence of life, an essential resource for all humanity. Many people disregard this fact and keep wasting water every day. Everyone must learn more about water consumption statistics so that we can all be on the same page.
The disparity of water consumption across the world is enormous. Some countries have access to much more water than others. You may have already guessed that African countries have the least clean drinking water, but there’s much more to be said. Let’s dive into these worrying statistics together.
The Top Statistics and Facts about Water Conservation and Consumption
- In 2020, more than 2 billion tons of fresh water were used worldwide.
- People make around a million plastic bottles every minute, most of which are water bottles.
- In the following decades, up to 66% of the population might suffer from the shortage of water.
- The vast majority of freshwater across the globe is used for agriculture (at least 70%).
- In 2010, India used the most water annually for agriculture (almost 24.7 trillion cubic feet).
- In the EU, Hungary is most dependent on the external inflow of water (93.5% of its total freshwater resources).
- In 2015, California withdrew about 5.15 billion gallons of saline and fresh water every single day.
Global Water Consumption Statistics
1. So far in 2020, more than 2,141,668,773 tons of fresh water have been used worldwide.
(The World Counts)
Each year, the worldwide population uses about 151.85 trillion cubic feet of freshwater. Are these numbers giving you a headache? You’re not alone. Here’s a simple comparison. That amount of water is comparable to 50 Olympic swimming pools evaporating each second.
2. By 2050, the average quantity of water per person will be lower than 1,000 cubic meters (just over 35,000 cubic feet) per year in the North African belt, Eastern and Southern Africa, and the Middle East.
World water consumption statistics for the future look downright scary. Some of these regions with grim water projections for the future are already lacking renewable water for domestic and agricultural purposes.
This is associated with poor infrastructure and can cause malnutrition even if there seems to be enough water in the region.
3. In the following decades, up to 66% of the population might suffer from a shortage of water.
Water consumption facts tell us that the global water situation is already unsustainable, and it’s only getting worse. In 2050, we will need 53% more water for crops to support the growing global population. We can expect more than 2 billion more people by 2050. The land for farming said crops will also need to increase by 38% if we want the world to be fed.
4. Freshwater is scarce already.
(The World Counts)
Saltwater constitutes a vast majority of water worldwide. One of the well-known water usage facts is that freshwater makes up less than 3% of the water on the globe. As a result, many people are forced to drink unsanitary water, which can cause many diseases and, ultimately, death.
5. The vast majority of freshwater across the globe is used for agriculture (at least 70%).
(The World Counts, MDPI)
Who would’ve guessed it? The necessary food we produce with agriculture is taking away most of our water supply. Water usage statistics are easier to grasp when quantified—agriculture uses about 648 cubic miles of water every year.
6. Finland has the most freshwater resources in the EU available for its citizens (circa 704,527 cubic feet per capita).
Right after Finland, Sweden is also very water-rich. Its inhabitants can use up to 685,458 cubic feet of water. Note that Norway has much greater water resources (nearly 2.5 million cubic feet per inhabitant), but it isn’t a member of the European Union.
Sadly, we’ll now be transitioning to the less fun water consumption stats.
7. Among EU countries, Malta has the fewest water resources per capita (6,251 cubic feet).
As per the UN’s world water development report, a water-stressed country is one that can’t afford more than 60,035 cubic feet of water per capita. Other water-stressed countries in the EU include Cyprus, the Czech Republic, and Poland.
8. In 2017, Canada was the world’s second-biggest water consumer (circa 31,200 cubic feet spent yearly per citizen).
When it comes to water consumption in Canada, these statistics made the highlights in 2017, but Canada was still quite behind the US. An average American went through about 42,589 cubic feet of water that year. Belgium had nearly the same water consumption per capita as Canada.
9. In 2010, India used the most water annually for agriculture (almost 24.7 trillion cubic feet).
(Our World in Data)
India is known for topping the agricultural water usage statistics. Furthermore, the country’s water consumption for this purpose doubled from 1975 to 2010. These numbers make sense because India’s population is quickly multiplying, and so is its demand for food.
China is in the second spot. In 2015, its agriculture consumed about 13.6 trillion cubic feet of water. Thankfully, China has stabilized this type of water use in recent years.
10. In the EU, Hungary is the country most dependent on the external inflow of water (93.5% of its total freshwater resources).
While we’re evaluating water consumption statistics by country, it’s interesting to note that Hungary and the Netherlands (88.8%) are the most dependent on importing water in the EU. Although it isn’t a member of the EU, Serbia also imports 92.2% of its freshwater resources.
US Water Consumption Statistics
11. In 2015, California withdrew about 5.15 billion gallons of saline and fresh water every single day.
California used the most water in all of America, by a considerable margin. Texas was in second place, withdrawing about 2.89 billion gallons daily, while New York and Florida each withdrew approximately 2.4 billion gallons a day.
These are undoubtedly among the most shocking recent statistics regarding water consumption in California.
12. An average American household uses about 300 gallons of water daily (30% of this amount is used outside the house).
Note that this is an average amount, and it differs from state to state. Inhabitants of drier areas use much more water outdoors. The West uses the most water per capita because it is arid and requires more water for irrigation.
13. An average American household can waste about 9,400 gallons of water yearly due to household leaks.
Water wastage statistics from the Environmental Protection Agency state that American families waste up to 180 gallons every week. That much water is equivalent to approximately 300 laundry cycles.
The yearly water wastage from household leaks across the entire US amounts to up to 900 billion gallons. This amount of water could supply almost 11 million households for a whole year. Also, these leaks cause a lot of water damage and create mold.
14. If you just turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth, you could conserve almost 5,700 gallons of water annually.
The United States water consumption statistics would be much lower if we all took these tiny water conservation steps. The math behind this statistic is simple: turning off the tap while shaving can save up to 10 gallons for a single shave.
If you do the same while brushing your teeth, you could save another 8 gallons a day. It’s a small price to pay for the greater good.
Bottled Water Consumption Statistics
15. People buy around a million plastic bottles every minute, most of which are water bottles.
Plastic bottles are awful for the environment, but they aren’t going away any time soon because they’re so practical for packaging and storing water. We need to start thinking about alternatives right now because, by 2021, about 500 billion plastic bottles will be sold worldwide.
16. In 2018, Thailand and Mexico consumed the most bottled water globally (72.4 gallons per capita).
In the case of water bottle consumption, statistics from Statista tell us that these two countries are the most significant water bottle consumers by far. Here are some of the runner-up countries in the same category:
- Italy is in the third spot (50.3 gallons)
- The US follows (42.3 gallons)
- France is in the fifth spot (38.3 gallons)
- Germany isn’t so far behind (38.1 gallons)
17. In 2018, the United Arab Emirates spent about 35 gallons of water per capita.
When it comes to water consumption in the UAE, the statistics aren’t discussed that often, so we decided to highlight them here. The UAE’s water consumption has been rising steadily over the past two decades. Between 2008 and 2017, it increased by 12.7 billion cubic feet (from 51.9 in 2008 to 64.6 in 2017).
18. On average, most drinking water consumed by US citizens comes from the tap (62%).
Statistics of bottled and tap water consumption from a 2020 Nutrition Journal study showed exciting results. The data was collected between 2011 and 2016.
Compared to data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2010, there was a 6% increase in tap water consumption among Americans.
Interestingly enough, families with higher incomes consumed more tap water, while those with lower incomes used more bottled water.
How much water is consumed daily?
The exact numbers for daily water consumption are difficult to pinpoint, mainly because they’re different for each country. An average person needs to drink about 5 liters of water to survive in moderate living conditions with little activity.
(The World Counts)
How much water is wasted globally?
Again, take this data with a grain of salt since it can’t be completely accurate, but according to USGS, every person spends between 80 and 100 gallons of water daily. These numbers only count indoor water use and don’t account for irrigation, gardening, and other outside applications.
Your average US citizen goes through between 100 and 175 gallons of water daily, nearly double the amount an average person consumes.
(USGS, The World Counts)
Which country wastes the most water?
The 2017 global report from Statista on yearly water consumption per capita says that the US has the gold medal once again. An average American uses about 42,589 cubic feet of water every year.
Canada and Belgium share the second spot, spending 31,183 cubic feet of water yearly per capita. In comparison, Turkey takes the fourth spot, spending about 26,335 cubic feet of water every year per capita.
What consumes the most water?
Specific local laws came into being due to excessive indoor water use, limiting water flow in showers, faucets, and toilets. Yes, these are the main culprits of water waste. Keep that in mind when you’re taking a long shower or bath.
Agriculture is the biggest consumer of water, consuming between 75% and 90% of the total freshwater in most regions.
(USGS, The World Counts)
Every living being needs water to survive. There are two main ways we intake water: through food or by drinking it. However, our water use doesn’t end there. A lot of water is used in excess daily, as you’ve learned from our water consumption statistics.
We need to start thinking about preserving water and using it more wisely so that future generations will have enough water to sustain their basic needs. Otherwise, we may be at fault for creating a water shortage starting as soon as just a few decades from now.