Using the Calculator When You’re Outside the US

Using the Calculator When You’re Outside the US

Global water usage is significant and many people are interested in getting their water footprints so they can lower their water use.

While global water usage is important, our Water Footprint Calculator was created for users in the United States, using primarily US data and units (versus metric units). The Calculator helps visitors understand how they use water and how they can use less.

This is information is useful for people outside of the United States as well. With a little bit of work before they take it and the understanding that certain data might be more or less applicable to where they live, users outside of the United States can get an estimate of how their water use habits and behaviors impact their water footprint.

Global Water Usage and the Water Footprint Calculator

The Water Footprint Calculator provides a snapshot of how a person’s daily activities and routines impact their water use. The results, reported as a water footprint, are meant to be an estimate that can help people better understand how their habits and behaviors contribute to their overall water use.

View or download a pdf of the methodology that shows all of the data, sources and equations.

Metric to US Unit Conversions

The following conversions will help users understand their results:

  • 1 gallon = 3.785 liters
  • 1 gallon per minute = 3.785 liters per minute
  • 1 mile = 1.60934 kilometers
  • 1 square foot = 0.092903 square meters
  • 1 pound = 0.453592 kg
  • 1 ounce = 28.3495 g

Users Outside the United States

Electric Power Production

The main challenge users outside the United States face in using the Water Footprint Calculator is deciding how to answer the question that asks them to choose their state. The question relates to electric power production because different forms of electric power production – hydroelectric, thermoelectric, solar PV, wind, etc. – consume more or less water depending on the technology, and each US-state’s power production profile varies depending on the types of technologies used.

A user from outside the US can determine their area’s predominant power portfolio (for example, by looking at their power company’s website), and then they can compare their profile to profiles from US states (listed in Table 1). Then, when they get to the state question in the Water Footprint Calculator, they can choose that state.

Table 1. 2016* State Power Production Profiles
(Shown as Percentages)

StateCoalHydroelectricNatural GasNuclearPetroleumSolar (PV & Thermo)WindOther
Arizona 28731300300
District of Columbia0030010069
New Hampshire2625560029
New Jersey2056390102
New Mexico56030002110
New York12042310032
North Carolina29330330302
North Dakota7053000220
Oklahoma 24346000260
Oregon 35725000122
Pennsylvania 25132390021
Rhode Island 009600003
South Carolina 22217580001
South Dakota 18428000320
Tennessee 39914370000
Texas 27050900131
Utah 6822300322
Vermont 05600031525
Virginia 18244321004
Washington 4691080071
West Virginia 942200020
Wisconsin 51424160022
Wyoming 862200091
*Data based on power profiles from 2016 since the Water Footprint Calculator is based on 2016 data.
**”Other” includes geothermal, biomass, other gasses, wood and wood derived fuels, etc.

Example: South Korea

South Korea’s power production profile in 2016 was as follows:

Production Type Percentage of Total
Coal 40
Natural Gas22

While there are no exact matches, the profile is somewhat similar to Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota and Tennessee – any of these states would work. Note that the predominant forms of power production – coal, natural gas and nuclear – are all forms of thermoelectric power which typically require a lot of cooling water that is consumed in order to produce electricity.

The Water Footprint Calculator is not intended to be an exact accounting of anyone’s water use. The point of it is to act as a mirror for how people use water and for people to think about their behaviors and how they could use less water. 

More on Global Water Usage

If you’d like to see a list of countries by water consumption per capita check out the graph and table in this post.

Water Footprint Networks’ Water Footprint Calculator

Another option for people who are not in the United States is to use the personal water footprint calculator on the Water Footprint Network’s site. That calculator allows users to select their country and language and the data is based on individual countries. Note that it does not ask about power production or transportation fuels.