High Water Marks

Online calculators are the latest thing in eco-land: a quick way to gauge one’s wasteful footprint against the consumption level of other Americans. The newest addition is H2O Conserve, a joint project between Food & Water Watch and other nonprofits. The site leads users through a series of personal questions—their home state, the number of people in their household, how they shower, wash dishes and maintain lawns and cars. Using national averages, the calculator determines individual “water footprints.” While the number isn’t scientifically accurate, even its approximation can be alarming—most Americans use more than 1,000 gallons a day, according to the site’s measures.