Jan 29, 2020

Madison, Wisconsin, Water Usage Hits Record Low

Water usage in Madison, Wisconsin has hit a record low. 

water conservation

Water use in Madison hit a record low last year, according to new data from the Madison Water Utility.

In 2019, the utility pumped 8.9 billion gallons, which is the lowest amount since 1967 and a billion gallons less than the utility pumped five years ago, according to the Cap Times.

“I don’t think anybody predicted this big of a change,” said Water Supply Manager Joe DeMorett in a statement.

The utility hit a record high of pumping 12.2 billion gallons of water in 2001, reported the Cap Times. Water use has dropped by more than 27%, which is a change also seen in the annual per capita water use of people living in single family homes.

People in Madison in the early 2000s used an average of 75 gallons daily per person and this number dropped to 50.8 in 2019, according to Madison Water Utility data

A huge drop in water use can be attributed to the closure of the Oscar Mayer factory. When it was in production, the site used about 400 million gallons per year, reported the Cap Times. The city also lost Bimbo Bakeries in 2018, which used about 4.5 million gallons per year. 

UW-Madison is currently the utility's largest water user and is in the process of working on efficiency and conservation.

According to Madison Water Utility General Manager Tom Heikkinen, more efficient appliances and plumbing fixtures and rainy summers are also factors for declining water use in the city.

“50 gallons per person per day on a residential use basis is something that is well below what the textbooks say that you need to plan for a water system,” said Heikkinen in a statement. “It was not really thought that we would be getting that low.”

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