In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency presented its "Using Water Wisely in the Home" report.

Through its Water Efficiency Program, the EPA is offering the plumbing industry a boost by urging everyone -- from homeowners to State governments -- to become more water-efficient by using and installing water-saving fixtures and appliances.

"Nationally, an average of 14 percent of the water we buy is lost through leaks without ever using it. That's like paying a 14 percent sales tax on something you don't get to use," EPA Administrator Christine Whitman said. According to the EPA, each home loses an average of 25 gallons of water a day through leaky pipes, toilets and appliances.

On its Web site,, the EPA features the "Top Five Ways To Save," in which the first three items are stopping leaks, installing 1.6-gpf toilets, and replacing old clothes washers.

The report is available in pdf format at the EPA site. It includes statistics such as:

  • Fixing a toilet that silently leaks 500 gallons of water per day might save nearly $1,000 per year.

  • Installing high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and appliances can help a typical family of four reduce indoor water use by one-third, save about $95 per year on their water and sewer bill, and cut energy use by as much as 6 percent.

  • American households spend an average of $230 per year to heat water. By changing inefficient fixtures a family of four can save as much as $210 per year in water, sewer and energy costs.