The United States government has many different agencies — the Treasury, the Department of Defense, more recently Homeland Security, and numerous others. Each of these agencies has departments within them, and one of them, part of the Environmental Protection Agency, is the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW). If you ever wanted to know anything about water, they are probably the people to ask.
The average American uses 100 gallons of water each day. Only about two go toward drinking and cooking. (In fact, we spend twice as much water — four gallons — on washing dishes than we do in preparing and eating our meals.) Toilet flushing costs us either roughly 1.5 or five gallons per flush, depending on what type of toilet (newer or old) one uses. All combined, the typical American flushes away 24 gallons of water each day, nearly a quarter of our total water consumption.
We probably do not quantify that in dollars and cents, but like everything else in life, toilet water costs money. The OGWDW estimates that the “typical cost [of tap water] is $2 for 1,000 gallons“, or, 4.8 cents per person, per day, for 24 gallons of toilet water.
All said and done? In total, roughly 300 million Americans spend over $5 billion dollars a year flushing their toilets.
Bonus fact: Mankind has been looking for ways to improve the taste, clarity, and odor of water seemingly forever. Ancient Sanskrit and Greek records reflect a variety of water treatment measures dating back roughly 6,000 years!
From the Archives: Mr. Pee Hands: How some Major League Baseball players use bodily fluids to help them hit homers. Maybe.
Related: Perhaps the best children’s book ever made. (Click to see why it’s related to the above.)