Did you know that we have the same amount of water on earth today as when the dinosaurs walked the land? In fact, the water you drank today has been cycling the earth since the beginning of time! How does that happen? Well, it happens through a really cool process called the water cycle.

Take a look at the answers to two of the most common questions that we hear.

So exactly how much water is on the earth?

Glad you asked!

  • Believe it or not, 70% of the earth is covered with water!
  • Even though you can’t see it, there is a lot of water underground called groundwater that soaks into the ground from rain, snow, sleet, and hail


  • There’s also a lot of land on the earth that’s just really wet, called wetlands
  • We call these areas swamps, bogs, and marshes


  • The rest is salt water or contained in the ice caps
  • All of this water, just like the water in the ocean, will make its way into the never-ending, amazing water cycle
If there’s so much water on earth, why do we need to be careful not to waste it?

Drinking Water

  • Even though most of the earth is made up of water, only 3% of it is available for drinking!
  • The rest of the water is salt water or water contained in the ice caps
  • If a full bathtub represented all the water on earth, just a teaspoon of this water would represent our drinking water

Our Responsibility

  • We all share this water
  • Everything that lives needs fresh water to survive, plants, animals, the endangered northwest salmon that lives in our lakes and streams, and of course, us humans
  • But helpless plants, land, and sea animals don’t use as much water as we do, and they certainly can’t do anything about the water that we use and waste
  • It’s our job to take care of the earth and our water supply by being smart about the water that we use

How You Can Help

  • Using water wisely will help make sure that we all have plenty of clean water to use
  • It is important not to waste water in your home
  • Maybe you can start an environmental club in your community or school and think of new ways to be environmentally friendly with your friends!


Indoor Water Audit

Water meterFind out how many gallons of water your house uses, then save water and money by following these simple steps.

  1. Read your water meter before using any water. See also our Meter Readings & Leaks page
  2. Keep track of all indoor water using activities for one day (24 hours).
  3. Determine the number of gallons each water using activity uses from the Water Use Activity Chart below
  4. Read your water meter after one day (24 hours) and verify your calculations. (For water meters measuring in cubic feet: 1 cubic foot = 7.5 gallons.)
  5. Calculate the per-person consumption rate. (Total gallons of water used divided by total people living in home.)

Water Activity Use Chart (Gallons per Use)

Conventional –5
Low-Flow – 3.5
Ultra Low-Flow – 1.6

Toilet Gallons
Conventional 5
Low-Flow 3.5
Ultra Low-Flow 1.6
Washing Machine Gallons
Conventional 37
Wash Recycle 26
Front Load 21
X-Axis 17.5
Faucets Gallons
Conventional 3
Low-Flow 2.5
Showerheads Gallons
Conventional 5
Low-Flow 2.5