News Environment These Countries Are the World's Biggest Water Wasters And if you live in one of them, here's what you can do about it. By Katherine Martinko Katherine Martinko Twitter Senior Editor University of Toronto Katherine Martinko is an expert in sustainable living. She holds a degree in English Literature and History from the University of Toronto. Learn about our editorial process Updated January 6, 2021 03:07PM EST Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Share Twitter Pinterest Email Getty Images / Raja Islam News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive If you've ever wondered which countries waste the most water at home, a new list may be of interest to you. Created by Ali Nazemi, a hydrologist and associate professor of engineering at Concordia University in Montreal, and Dan Kraus, senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada, together with dishwashing company Finish, it reveals just how profligate certain countries are when it comes to water usage. Canada is the worst offender, with a domestic water consumption rate of 7,687 gallons (29.1m3) per person per year, enough to fill 200 bathtubs or 40 hot tubs. Remember that this does not include water used for agricultural or industrial purposes, which would bring the number up to a massive 616,313 gallons (2,333 m3) per capita. Number two on the list is Armenia. This small country with a population of just over three million people expanded its public water supply network to rural areas between 2009 and 2017 – a good thing, though it has resulted in a dramatic increase in the amount of water used daily by its citizens. New Zealand is in third place, followed by the United States, where people each consume around 5,970 gallons (22.6m3) annually. Consumption is high in the U.S. because water is generally accessible across the country. Next on the list are Costa Rica (#5), Panama (#6), and the United Arab Emirates (#7). A big part of the problem is people's perception of abundant supply, particularly in countries like Canada and the U.S.; but as Nazemi points out, we must stop taking fresh water for granted in order to ensure it's preserved for future generations. He told Treehugger, "As the world's population increases and more socio-economic activities center around water (e.g. food and energy production), water consumptions will increase too. We need to act now by reducing our water footprint so we can conserve water for future uses. Education and concentrated research are the key to achieving this. We need to make communities and individuals aware of their water usage so they can act toward reducing it." While the numbers may look alarming, Nazemi and Krause go on to explain that taking steps to reduce water usage at home makes a big difference. Nazemi told Treehugger that "following water-saving tips could result in a 40% reduction in water usage without drastically affecting one's lifestyle and habits." These changes can save significant amounts of money, too. A press release says, "The [top 5 most wasteful] countries' residents could save an average of $317 in a single use of their appliances by following the water savings tips listed above. In contrast, ignoring water saving measures could see them spending an average of $1,326 across all appliances." What Can One Do To Reduce Water Waste? Nazemi offers the following suggestions. Check appliances and faucets (indoor and outdoor) for leaks and fix these. Switch to an efficient dishwasher and/or washing machine, if possible. Install a low-flow toilet and showerhead, and ensure your taps have aerators. (These replace some of the water with air, without affecting pressure.) Rethink certain habits, such as not pre-rinsing dishes before putting in the dishwasher, and not double-rinsing laundry. Don't flush the toilet more than you need to. Shorten your showers, turn off the water while soaping up, or consider showering less frequently if you're not dirty. Think of baths as a special treat or use the same bathwater for multiple children if they're not too grubby. Don't let water run freely. Train yourself to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving. When waiting for water to heat up, catch it in a bucket and use it to flush the toilet or help fill a top-loading washing machine. Soak things rather than scrubbing them under running water. This applies to vegetables and fruit, clothes that have to be hand-washed, and stubbornly dirty dishes. Measure your household's water consumption using this calculator that was created as part of the project. Once you realize how much water you use, it's easier to figure out where to cut back.