A CIESE Collaborative Project

Personal Water Use

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Lesson 1b
Collect Personal Water Use Information & Make Observations
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Obtain the Personal Water Use Chart
Print out the Personal Water Use Chart using one of the links below. This chart is also available to be downloaded as a spreadsheet (complete with formulas), which can be printed out and used to tabulate results or used in spreadsheet form on a computer to calculate results.

Personal Water Use Chart (HTML web page)
Personal Water Use Chart (PDF format) **
Personal Water Use Chart (Excel format)
Personal Water Use Chart (ClarisWorks format)

** PDF format is readable by any computer. Download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print the PDF file.

Distribute Personal Water Use Charts to Students
Each student should receive one copy of the Personal Water Use Chart for each member in their household (including themselves). Students should write their names and the name of each household member on each of the sheets they receive.

Students and Household Members Record Water Usage for One Week
Each household member should record the number of times they do each of the activities for one week. If one of the household members is unable to record data for an entire week, have them collect as much as they can and then estimate their usage for the remainder of the week. Click to see a partially filled out Personal Water Use Chart Example.

Note: Students will have to check with an adult in their household to see if they have a standard or low flow shower head and either a standard or low flow toilet. "Low flow" means that it uses less water than a regular fixture.

Calculate Results
Results can be calculated manually or by downloading on of the Personal Water Use Chart spreadsheets (Excel or ClarisWorks) and entering the household members' data into the spreadsheet on the computer. If you use a spreadsheet, the formulas are already part of the chart. After each household member's information is entered the totals will automatically be calculated. Directions for manually calculating the results are below.

  • Add up the number of times each activity is done by each member of the household and enter these numbers in the section of the chart that is labeled "Total Number of Times".
  • For each activity, an estimated amount of water used for the activity is provided. Multiply this number by the "Total Number of Times" the activity is done by each household member to get the "Total Weekly Water Use".
  • Add up all the numbers in the "Total Weekly Water Use" column and enter this number at the bottom. This is the "Total Weekly Water Use by this Household Member".


Think about what you have learned about water use so far. What observations can you make about how much water you and your household members use? Do any of the results surprise you?