World's Fair


As of 2007, residents of Vancouver, on average used 295 litres of water per day (Per capita water consumption number is 542 litres per day factoring in non-residential water use).


After reading the above article, I did a bit of number crunching. The contrast in water consumption, say. between a place like Vancouver and a place like Bhopal, India is pretty striking.

In India, there are guidelines that have been put into place that have suggested a minimum of about 150 litres per day is needed to maintain appropriate living/health standards (see here, via the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO) within India’s Ministry of Urban Development).

When you happen to look at 2007 stats for Mumbai, you get a figure of about 191 litres per day per capita (which presumably also includes a heavy load from non-residential use), but there are some major cities such as Bhopal (right in the middle of India and a city with over 1.5 million residents), where the daily consumption is calculated at 72 litres per day per capita (again, this would include non-residential use). To put this in perspective, this is equivalent to just over 3 conventional toilet flushes (~67 litres).

Just in case you like to visualize what these volumes all mean, the above is an image of two fridges: one designed with a freezer/fridge compartment to hold 300L and the other to hold 70L.


  1. #1 mekhala
    July 21, 2008

    An interesting comparison. Also, it’s Bhopal, not Bhopai. In Chennai, the south Indian city I lived in, there are many localities where people buy water every day for all their daily needs (bathing, washing, cooking, drinking, etc). What surprised me when I first came to USA was the amount of water being wasted (in my parched opinion :)).

  2. #2 David Ng
    July 21, 2008

    Whoops – Thanks for the note on the spelling. Just changed it. cheers ~Dave

  3. #3 Lassi Hippeläinen
    July 21, 2008

    There’s a difference between under- and overdeveloped countries. In the other children don’t have enough paper to do their home work from school, and they don’t have enough clean water to quench their thirst. In the other we wipe our ass on paper, and then flush it down the toilet with drinking water.

  4. #4 Pete Murphy
    July 22, 2008

    India’s consumption of everything is extremely low and is a direct consequence of their gross overpopulation. No one in North America should look at our consumption here and feel bad about consuming too much. Instead, places like India need to reduce their populations gradually through ethical population management measures so that their people can enjoy a high standard of living like us. (By the way, a little population management in the U.S. wouldn’t hurt either if we want to avoid the quality of life typical of places like India.)

  5. #5 Till
    July 23, 2008

    @Pete: I get your point that India may not be the best comparision to North America, but what about a comparision between well developed countries with a “normal” population size — e.g. here (water use in Europe between 120 and 180 l per capita per day).

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