Week 4 Lab

Answer the highlighted areas


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Activity: Drips and Leaks


Losses from drips and leaks can form a significant but often overlooked use of water in the home.  While slow drips and small leaks can seem inconsequential, the water losses incurred from these sources over time can be rather large, as was shown in the background material provided above from EPA.  To examine how much water can be lost this way we’ll be using a “drip calculator” from the American Water Works Association.  Access the calculator using the link below and answer the appropriate questions on the Activity Sheet.


Water-Wiser Drip Calculator

American Water Works Association


Copyright © 2004, American Water Works Association. For additional information

related to water issues, contact AWWA at www.awwa.org or call 800‑926‑7337.


If this exercise encourages you to examine your home for leaky pipes and toilets, please consult the resources above for tips and techniques for identifying sources of water loss.


Go to next page…




ESA 21: Environmental Science Activities

Activity Sheet

Water Use







Estimating Water Usage:


In the table below, provide the required information and enter the information about your household’s annual water usage from the water use calculator.  To calculate the percentage for each category, simply divide the value in each category by the Total Household Use and multiply by 100 (to convert proportion to percentage).




Per Capita Daily Use (gallons)

Percentage of Total
















Hand Washing Dishes



Lawn Watering



Other Outdoor Uses



Total Household Use





Which category comprised the greatest percentage of your household’s water use?  Was this surprising to you?  Why or why not?


Many people in rural areas in developing countries must still carry water from its source to their homes.  If you were to carry the amount of water used per person in your household on an average day, and a gallon of water weighs approximately 8.3 lbs, how many pounds of water would you need to carry each day?

Water Use Analysis:


Enter the “Total Per Capita Gallons of Water Used in the House” values from the calculator in the table below. 



Per Day

Per Month

Per Year

Your Household




Tampa Average





How did your household’s water usage compare to the Tampa, Florida average? 


As water use varies geographically in the United States, the national average annual water use per person in 1995 was estimated to be 65,335 gallons, considerably higher than the Tampa average (United States Geological Survey, http://water.usgs.gov/watuse/pdf1995/html/).  How did your water use compare to this figure?  Please explain what the differences may be attributed to.


Analyzing Changes:


Examine how small changes in lifestyle would affect your household’s total water usage.  Return to the water calculator and make a reasonable change that would reduce your overall water usage – describe the change in the table below.  Press “Calculate” after making the change, calculate the number of gallons saved per year, and enter it in the table.  Reset the calculator to its original values, and repeat the procedure for two additional changes.



Reduction in Annual

Water Use (gal)

















Seeing the reductions in water use that occur as a result of these changes, would you be willing to immediately implement any of them?  Explain why or why not.



Losses from Drips and Leaks:


Open the WaterWiser Drip Calculator, enter the values in the table below in the “# of drips per minute” box, hit the “Now Calculate” button, and enter the results in the table.  Let’s assume that your home has leaks like those listed.  For each of the drip rates, add the Daily Waste from leaks to your Total Per Capita Daily Use from the Tampa Water Calculator.  This would be your new Total Daily Water Use.  Then calculate the percentage of the total water used that is due to the leak.  As you did previously, simply divide the Daily Waste value by the Total Household Use and multiply by 100 (to convert proportion to percentage).



Total Per Capita Daily Use from Tampa Water Calculator: ____________________ gallons


Drips per Minute

Daily Waste (gal)

New Total Daily Water Use (gal)

Percentage of

Total Due to Leak























Compare the percentages of water use due to the leak to the percentages for the other categories (Bathroom, Toilets, Faucets, etc.) from your initial run of the water calculator.  For each drip rate, list the category with the closest percentage.  To do this, take a look at the percentage you calculated in the previous table for each drip rate. Now look at the very first table. For example, if you had .95% for 5 drip rate, you would choose Dishwasher from the first table b/c .95% is the closest to 1.66%.  You would then put “.95%” in the first row, second column and “Dishwasher” in the first row, third column.



Drips per Minute

Percentage of Total Due to Leak (gal)

Category with Closest Percentage from Initial Run of Water Calculator


















Does seeing the potential losses in leaks cause you to check your home for leaking pipes and toilets?  Explain why or why not.



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