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USGS - science for a changing world

New Mexico DroughtWatch

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Drip Calculator: How much water does a leaking faucet waste?

Check your faucets at home -- do any of them drip? Well, maybe it's just a small drip -- how much water can a little drip waste? True, a single drip won't waste much water, but think about each faucet in your home dripping a little bit all day long. What if every faucet in every home on your block ... in your town ... in your state also dripped? The drips would add up to a flood of water wasted down the drain.

There is no scientific definition of the volume of a faucet drip, but after measuring a number of kitchen and bathroom sink faucets, the volume seems to be between 1/5th and 1/3rd of a milliliter (mL). Drips from bathroom tubs come in a bit more, though, at about 1/2 mL. So, for our calculations below (numbers are rounded), we are going to use 1/4 mL as the volume of a faucet drip. So, by these drip estimates:

  • One gallon: 15,140 drips
  • One liter: 4,000 drips

Looking at it this way, it seems like that drop of water down the drain is pretty insignificant. But, as you can see by using the form below, all those drops flowing in "real time" can really add up to a flood.

Number of
homes
Number of
faucets in
each home
Number of
drips per
minute

Approximate Water Wastage

Drips per day: Liters per day:
Gallons per day: Gallons per year:
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