Tracking Water Usage-Siying Chen

Part 1-a:

The water supply chain usually starts at the water source. For my hometown Guangzhou, China, water usually comes from the West River and the East River. The city’s water supply companies then filter and sanitize the water. After water being treated in the water supply companies, it is transported to households and to our taps, but unlike U.S., tap water in China is not drinkable. Before we consume water, we boil it first or use water filter. According to the official report in 2013, Guangzhou’s water usage is over 350 liters per person per day, which is the top in the country. Wastewater produced from households then goes to the closest wastewater treatment plant, where wastewater get treated. A portion of treated wastewater is recycled and used in agricultural and industrial use, and the rest goes back to the downstream and eventually to the south China sea.

Part 1-b:

my water usage for 2/9

Chen's daily water use

Part 1-c:

Since I only have 2 gallons of water, I would restrict water use in cooking, drinking and basic cleaning, assuming there’s no other water resource. My priority water use would be drinking water, because I need to drink water to survive, and the second would be cooking water and the last would be cleaning. I would try to consume as little water as I can, and for basic cleaning, I would try to limit the time and amount I use, and if possible, I would recycle the water. To make an assumption, I would use approximately 1.2 gallons of water for consumption, and 0.5 gallon of water for cleaning, and I can still recycle the water after cleaning, in this scenario, the experiment would work. comparing to part 1-b of my usual daily water use, using only 2 gallons a day seems like impossible, and it also makes me realize that how much water I use, or waste in my daily life. Geography has a great impact on water supply, as we can see from the experiment, 2 gallons of water per day maybe is what people in Africa have, and there’s even no guarantee of clean water source. But here in U.S. we don’t need to worry about clean water and water supply, and we always think we have a lot for us to consume.

Syed Amirul – Water Tracking & Usage

1a-My hometown of Seremban, Negeri Sembilan which is located south east of Peninsula Malaysia is managed by Negeri Sembilan Water Company (SAINS). Their main source of water comes from a large, unnamed water catchment area in Pantai District, just half-hour off the state’s capital. The watershed is feed from rain water and rivers from surrounding hills. These water are then channeled through aqueducts to Ngoi Ngoi and Terip River Water Treatment Facilities where there’s dams to control and contain the treatment process. From there, treated water are distributed to 350,000 households through storage tanks. Each districts have around 10-25 of these tanks and sum up to 100 tanks for the whole city. They also utilizes high-powered water pumps to to help with the distributions where gravitational system doesn’t work in certain areas. Finally, households such as my family are provided with clean, quality water via an underground main line that the city and municipal bodies had provided us with. The website of SAINS was pretty simple but I got some of the insights from Google Maps and connect the searches intuitively.


1b- For this activity I chose a Monday because that’s my busiest day and calculated an estimate for my water usage for the whole day. Here is my estimation table:

Activity Number of Times Water Used
Shower 15 minutes 30 gallons
Tooth brushing 2 2.5 gallons
Toilet Flush 3 15 gallons
Drinking 5 3 gallons
Cooking 2 3 gallons
Laundry 1 30 gallons
Dishwasher 1 6 gallons
Hand washing 5 5 gallons
  Total 94.5 gallons

1c- The next day I got myself 2 gallons of bottled water for the experiment. First thing in the morning, I took a glass of water for tooth brushing and I skipped shower so I still have plenty of water left. Halfway through the day I have emptied a gallon from going to the toilet and drinking alone. I tried cooking foods that doesn’t require much water but still that and washing the dishes took up a lot of my remaining water. By around 8 p.m., I’ve finished all of 2 gallons of my water. Most of my usage are for drinking and personal hygiene. During the experiment when I had to control every single usage of water, I start to think about the times when I didn’t have to think and realized how much water I’ve wasted before. From the experience, I know take extra attention to reducing my usage by turning off the faucet while brushing my teeth or in between rinsing my dishes. Even though I did not succeed to last a whole day with only two gallons of water, I know have a deeper appreciation towards water, which I have taken for granted my whole life.

Geography certainly plays a vital role on water usage. It takes a lot of human involvement to alter the environment to provide us with the necessary clean water. From reading other blog posts from different geographical backgrounds, it’s prominent that almost everyone with decent water usage comes from highly populated area with proactive governments.

“Water Water Everywhere…” – So Where Does It All Come From? – Module 4 – Bernstein

In my town (borough, technically), our water comes from 2 wells stationed on either end of the borough. Each of these wells are stationed at different elevations from one another in order to compromise for the water table level. Using jet-pumps, the water is moved through the pipes (using suction; almost like a straw), and deposited into storage tanks. The water in these storage tanks can then be pushed through the pipelines to the homes (it is important to note here that some people in my town actually have their own personal well – a good example of private ownership). Obviously from there, the individual households can use the water in whatever ways they wish: cooking, bathing, laundry, etc. After the water goes down the drain it goes to our local sewage treatment plant. After the plant, it gets released into Blue Marsh Lake. Blue Marsh is a man-made lake whose purpose is to keep the Schuylkill River from flooding Reading, Pennsylvania (approximately 12 miles away from my home).



 ~ 210.3125 gallons/day

Hand/Face Washing: 7 times – 1 gal/wash -> 7 gallons

Toilet Flushing: 5 times – 4 gal/flush -> 20 gallons

Shower: 1 (10 min) – 5 gal/min -> 50 gallons

Teeth Brushing: 2 times (water not running while brushing) – < 1 gallon

Water Drank (8oz): 5 servings -> 40 oz

Dish Washing (by Hand): 3 times – ~9 gal/load -> 27 gallons

Clothes Washed: 3 times – ~35 gal/wash -> 105 gallons



The Experiment

The areas of water use during my experiment was teeth brushing, face/hand washing, and drinking – although I did wash my arms some (with a wet rag) from getting dirt on them at work. Out of these areas, my main priority was drinking as it is vital to function properly, then face/hand washing, followed by teeth brushing and the wet rag “arm cleanse”. In order to have the best chance for success, I tried to cut corners wherever I could: eating “watery foods” such as cucumber, watermelon, bell pepper, etc. (I understand this would not be in my options of food if I were in Mozambique or Haiti) in order to stay hydrated, used hand sanitizer when I could instead of using water (even though water is a base ingredient), chewed an incredible amount of minty gum and mints, and overall was very frugal with it. I am proud to say it was a success and even more proud – and relieved – to say that it’s over now. I suppose it is just me being used to the “first world”, but I found this to be really tough. It really made me put my priorities in order. Geography and one’s environment affects water use by dictating how much water is available to an individual. Obviously if one is in a drier climate or a more drought-stricken area, water shortage occurs and becomes a collective problem. If one were to live where water was common and clean water was readily available, it would not be as big of a collective problem, although that doesn’t mean one should use without thinking.


Water Usage

The water supply for my home is not connected to any municipal sources because of its location in a rural area.  My family has several wells on the property for both residential and farm use.  The ground water is around 70 feet below the surface and is completely potable.  The well for our house recharges from natural drainage from the 40+ inches of rain received in Erie County every year.  That water is pumped with an electric pump into my house where it is used for drinking, cleaning, showering, and etc.  The gray water from the house is disposed of into our leech bed which infiltrates water into the ground.  The water drains through the soil back into the groundwater supply, thus completing a cycle.  Some of this water is probably lost from runoff and evaporation, which means it ends up draining into French Creek or lost into the atmosphere.  This is a fairly common setup for water in my area, where almost everyone has their own wells.



In my attempt to use only 2 gallons of water in a day, I realized how difficult that actually is.  The areas of water use that I focused on were cooking, drinking, and hygiene.  Immediately, I realized that showering was not a realistic possibility.  Drinking water and cooking were the most important activities that required water, so I focused on satisfying those needs first.  For hygiene, I decided to use a small amount of water to wash my face instead of showering, which greatly cut down on water use.  I drank half a gallon, but I did not leave the sink running like I normal do.  I used another gallon for cooking.  I failed the experiment the first time I had to use the bathroom; that in itself uses more than 2 gallons.  I did use just a fraction of my normal water use of around 100 gallons.  Geography is relevant to water use because of the unequal distribution of water supply and use across the Earth’s landscape.  My area has more than enough water that can support my usage, but many places do not.

Module 4: Water Tracking and Usage

Jason Brown


I am from a suburb of Pittsburgh in Washington County, PA called Peters Township. My family has one source of water which is provided by the municipality. Peters Township gets the water from the Pennsylvania America Water Company and their website shows that 92% of their water sources are from surface water, 7% comes from wells, and they purchase 1% of the water sources. PAWC services about 650,000 customers and 400 communities in 36 different counties. The Monongahela river is the source of surface water and provides about 110 million gallons of water every day. The PAWC has three main channels that water goes through to get to our taps. First, the water goes through the pumping station where untreated water is removed by large pumps and pipes. Then, raw water is sent to a treatment facility, where the water gets treated and becomes purified to meet the standards of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Finally, the water goes through the distribution system, which is a large network of pipes that span all over in order to reach any house, business, or fire hydrant that is serviced by the company. The water is then able to be used by me in my home.



February 9th

Use                  USGS Rate Estimate              My water usage for today

Shower            5 gallons/min-  10 minutes/2x 100 gallons

Brush teeth      0.3 gallons- 3 times                 0.9 gallons

Toilet               3 gallons/flush-Used 4 times   12 gallons

Handwashing  1 gallon/time-8 times               8 gallons

Drinking          32 oz/water bottle- 2 bottles   .5 gallons

Ending total: 121.4 gallons of water that day.

With the USGS website estimations, I totaled 121.4 gallons of water on Feb 9th. I see this as pretty accurate because I do less activities at school with water than I would at home. Living in the dorms, I really don’t wash dishes and I didn’t do any laundry on this day for example.


With just two gallons of water, I changed my routine dramatically. I was able to avoid using it to cook by eating at the commons. I drank about.5 gallons of water throughout the day. The rest though was used when I brushed my teeth, washed my hands/face, and flushed the toilet. I was able to not shower though for the day because I didn’t really do any physical activity that made me sweat. I think I went over the 2 gallons limit though by washing my hands and flushing the toilet. I kind of have to do that though. I don’t want to make any one mad in the dorm that I live in and I wanted to keep my hands clean for obvious reason. So I failed this experiment but only for my personal hygiene. I bet if I did it at home, I could pass. This was a lot less water consumption though to my regular day described in part 1-b. I was able to cut back dramatically and see what it is like for other people every day. Geography is very important to water consumption. I never really saw this until my cousins in California started to have problems and we had to send them bottled water. Geography plays a role in how water gets around and it can cut people off from it. This is why people are always creating new systems for more drinkable water to be available.

Daily Water Usage- Julie Cardillo

In order to describe my hometown’s (Dunmore, PA) water supper chain, I consulted my father, who is a worker of the Pennsylvania American Water Company (a subdivision of the American Water System based in Mount Laurel, NJ)! After talking to him, he explained to me that the water comes from the Elmhurst Dam (Moscow, PA), and it feeds into the Lake Scranton Reservoir. Raw (untreated) water is then pumped directly to the Lake Scranton plant where initial pre chemicals are added (powdered-activated carbon, potassium permanganate, chlorine, alum, and lime). During this, the water passes through rapid mixing units, eight clarifiers, and eight filters. After being filtered, water flows through the plant’s clear well and post chemicals are added (chlorine for disinfection, lime for pH adjustment, and poly-phosphate for corrosion control). The water  flows to a storage tank (two 2.5 million gallons), in which gravity flows to major pumping stations by distribution pipes. Finally, the pumping stations pump clean water to the houses in my area through the distribution system. When the water goes down the drain, it goes to into the sewage distribution pipes that leads to the Dunmore- Scranton Sewer Authority. The sewer water then gets treated and then released into the Lackawanna River.
Water Chart

On February 8, I attempted to live on two gallons of water. I prioritized my two gallons of water in the areas that I felt most important (drinking and hygiene). First, I showered for 2 minutes when I woke up. Throughout the day, I did not flush the toilet until the end of the day, I only had one glass of water ( when I got thirsty I drank soda), I brushed my teeth once before bed, and I didn’t wash the dishes. I did not use water for my hands (I used hand sanitizer instead). At the end of the day, I still ended up using 15.06 gallons of water. I clearly failed this experiment considering the fact that I used my 2 gallons up by 9:00 am because my 2 minute morning shower used up 10 gallons of water. Attempting to live off of 2 gallons of water would be so difficult for me, and the results from my chart in part 1-b shows. Geography is definitely matters to water use because there are areas around the world that have a small supply of water due to the geology/ location of the land (i.e. the area is dry, the water is dirty, etc.) People in areas like this must use environmental governance when it comes to their water use, so they only use water in terms of survival (food and water). We (people who have good sources of water), too, should take environmental governance in our water usage. Many times, people think that a single or individual action such as one person showering less won’t make an impact. However, that one person can influence others to become apart of a collective action, where so much water can be conserved.

Joseph Carlamere-Module 4

Part 1-a:  I live in Woolwich Township, New Jersey; our community has a water tower deep well water delivery system.  The way this type of system provides potable water is through pumping water from an underground water reservoir into a cleaning tank.  The water is then processed through a cleaning process and fluoride is added; from this point the clean potable water is pumped into a steel spherical tower tank.  The water is then distributed to the residents of the town through an output gravity feed pipe system; this is created through hydrostatic pressure produced by the elevation of the water tower compared to the low-lying dwellings.  The pipe sizing of the system may be the most important part of the water distribution.  The pipe size decreases in diameter as it moves away from the supply tank, which increases the pressure within the pipes in order to keep the water moving through the supply loop.  Once the water reaches my house it passes through a water meter and used for household consumption.  The water is then disposed through a wastewater treatment plant; the unpotable water is cleaned to about 95% and dumped into the Delaware River.

Part 1-b: I live in a 2 story house with my wife; here is a table of the amount of water we use per/day.

Device Gallons of Water
Shower 150
Teeth brushing 8
Hand washing 12
Shaving 30
Dishwasher 16
Clothes washer 40
Toilet flush 36
Glasses of water 1
Total 293 per/day

Part 1-c: I have to say that I am more than a little embarrassed about the amount of water we use per/day.  In order to use two gallons per/day as many people have to do, I would have to cut out showering, shaving, toilet flushing, washing my clothes, everything, but drinking water.  Ways that I can reduce water usage is by installing low-flow faucets and showerheads.  Additionally, I have to turn off the water while shaving and brushing my teeth.  Small things like these will save water, electricity, natural gas and money. Geography is important when designing a water supply and disposal system; there are many things to consider. For example; an analysis of the water table the location of the supply system and the current and future capacity.  This project really opened my eyes to the amount of water I use. If as a class we can reduce our water consumption by 50%; we will not suffer the “Tragedy of the Commons”.