Household Water Use

In 2023, the Cochrane water treatment plant produced 3,126 million litres of water. Approximately 2,006 million litres of this was consumed in residential homes.

The average residential home used 388 litres/day during the winter and 494 litres/day during the summer. On a monthly basis, this works out to an average consumption of 11.4 cubic metres (11,400 litres) and 14.4 cubic metres (14,400 litres) respectively.

Typical household water use

If you are concerned about your household water use, consider comparing your household use to the average water use for certain fixtures and appliances. This can help give you a sense of whether you are using more water than expected: 

  • taking a 10-minute shower with a low flow shower head uses 76 litres of water 
  • one high efficient dishwasher load uses 15 litres of water, older dishwashers might use up to 40 litres per cycle
  • washing a load of laundry in a high-efficiency machine uses about 45 litres, an older machine might use 140 litres per load
  • flushing the toilet four times a day uses 19.2 litres daily (around 4.8 litres per flush), an older toilet (13 litre per flush) would use 52 litres daily 
  • using a lawn sprinkler for 15 minutes uses about 225 litres 
  • a water softener regeneration cycle uses between 135 and 2500 litres, depending on the size of the tank and system settings
  • a furnace humidifier uses about 45 litres per day, this is dependent on the humidistat setting

CMHC Household Guide to Water Efficiency

Water meters

Cochrane uses two kinds of water meters to measure water use.  All properties are equipped with radio transmitters that are used to collect monthly meter readings. Of these radios, 77 per cent are equipped with the function of storing hourly meter readings for 35 days.

Water use check: things to look for at home

Concerned about your water use?  Check the following around your home for leaks or excess water use.

Indoor water conservation

It's also good to keep in mind ways to conserve water when thinking about your household water use. Here are a few helpful tips:

Tap water running
Be conscious of running your taps
Be conscious of not running the tap, when brush your teeth or when washing your hands.
Take shorter showers
Try taking a shorter, five minute, shower instead of a bath, as a shower uses less water than baths.
dishes in dishwasher
Scrape your plates after eating
Scrape your plates instead of rinsing them before loading them into the dishwasher.
person in warm blanket
Wrap up in a blanket to keep warm
Feeling chilled? Wrap up in a cozy blanket instead of soaking in a hot bath to keep warm.
man fixing toilet
Be vigilant of leaking toilets
Keep an eye out for leaking toilets and fix as soon as you can.
dishes in dishwasher
Run a full dishwasher
Did you know that using a dishwasher can use less water than washing your dishes by hand? Just be sure to run a full load to maximize the water you are using.
full laundry basket
Do a full load of laundry
Do a full load of laundry using your washing machine's load-sensing feature if you have one.

Outdoor water conservation

Cochrane’s residential water use rises by as much as 30% in the summer months.  Some of that precious water evaporates before people or plants can use it or runs down the sidewalk into the storm drain.   With anticipated drought conditions,  a naturescaped yard reduces your water bill, eases demand on the Cochrane’s water treatment and distribution system while supporting community sustainability.

We share the Bow River with many other communities and stakeholders. Naturescaping helps ensure there is a reliable supply of water for domestic use, power generation, waste treatment, agriculture, firefighting and recreation. We need to leave water in the Bow River for aquatic life, riparian vegetation and wildlife habitat.


Once established, a carefully and thoughtfully naturescaped area will be virtually maintenance free, usually within one or two seasons. Many indigenous species of trees and shrubs will not need more water than nature provides once they have established an extensive root system (usually two growing seasons)

It's more than just a lawn. Whether you call it xeriscaping (xerosis Greek for dry) or naturescaping, you can create an attractive landscape that saves time, money and water. Water-wise gardening isn’t just for seasoned gardeners.  Just follow these basic steps: 

Ready to plant?

Soil conditions vary widely in Cochrane, and sometimes across a single property. When you dig, examine the soils you have and work to improve them.  Local soils often need help from mulch, compost, conditioners (manure, sand, perlite, etc.), or aeration to grow plants more effectively. Sandy soils drain quickly. Clay soils may not. What soils do you have on your property?