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How much water does my dishwasher use?

June 30, 2010

Yes, we’ve got a dishwasher. I fought hard to get it too. When I was pregnant and we’d just moved into our house, I insisted on it. My husband didn’t want one – he grew up in a household with lots of kids to do the dishes. But I knew I’d be the one at home doing most of the dishes. I won and we ended up buying a middle of the road dishwasher – a Tuscany. At the time I bought it I made sure it had those energy stars (3 and a half I think) and I chose one that was less heavy on the water (I don’t know if that is the reason why it leaves marks unless you rinse first, yes, yes, I know that defeats the purpose). I can’t seem to find how much water it uses, now that I’ve gone looking for it. Interestingly the manual doesn’t say, as if it’s not a consideration at all. Apparently the average dishwasher uses 40 litres of water, although from memory I think ours is under that. I can’t say I regret getting it though it is probably not so sustainable as doing dishes by hand.

I did one of those online calculators for water consumption, though I don’t know how accurate that one is as it’s in gallons and I think based on American usage. I found another calculator for New Zealand, which says the average usage per person per day is 250 litres. Seems a lot. Mine came in at 141.75 litres though again I’d say it is a pretty rough estimate, given the huge variance in appliances.

Our water usage in this household is: laundry washing, toilet, baths (every second night for kids), showers, dishwasher and cooking. In summer the hose gets a good workout with the kids, but I hardly ever water the vegie garden (maybe why I have little success with lettuce). The majority of our usage would be for laundry and showers/baths. Toilets, especially the older ones without dual flushing, use a fair bit too.

Also, I found a waterfootprint calculator, which takes into account the water that has gone into producing food and other consumables, sort of what I talked about in a post a while back on the water that goes into making a flat white. I think care needs to be taken with those estimates too.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 30, 2010 3:17 am

    We’ve a rainwater tank from the roof for the household (bathroom, kitchen and laundry) and town supply to the flush toilet (we’ve a composting toilet as well – no water needed) and we run our grey water out into a reed bed (shh!) Mostly, we don’t water the garden, using mulches and building water-retaining soils, feeding liquid manures from tanks using rainwater and comfrey/seaweed or other goopy stuff.
    I’m appalled that schools and other institutions that have buildings with large (huge!) roof areas don’t collect their own water! Seems a crime to me.

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