New app measures water usage

UNION CITY, Calif. -- When you wash the dishes or take a shower, how much water are you really using? An East Bay man decided to build a free app to help you find out.

When asked if he's an app developer, Union City resident Alan Joughin replied, "No, actually. I'm an agricultural engineer."

That's how Joughin got the idea to build an app.

The free app, called Measure Water Flow, helps you figure out just how much water each of your taps actually uses. "You download it onto your Android device," he said.

All you need is a container, like a gallon milk jug. "So the stopwatch is counting how much time it takes to fill the 1-gallon container," Joughin explained.

It took 35 seconds. "My flow rate here is 1.71 gallons per minute," he said, which, it turns out, is pretty good.

"One of the things we tell our customers is to strive for 35 gallons a day for indoor water usage per person," East Bay MUD spokesperson Abby Figueroa said.

East Bay MUD offers free aerators for your sinks and water-saving shower heads.

Joughin has one in his bathroom, where the app tells him he uses 1.69 gallons per minute. That's even less than the kitchen sink.

But if measuring your sinks and showers has you feeling pretty good about your water usage, there's one more thing you need to try. We're talking about the most basic water appliance of all -- the garden hose.

For this one, a bigger bucket is needed. The app can use any container, you just need to put in the dimensions and watch it fill up.

"Definitely most water usage is going to happen outdoors this time of year, so that's where you want to be really careful," Figueroa said.

For extra incentive, the app can tell you what you're paying for that water.

Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.