Last Call: How much water do you drink throughout the day?

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hands in sink washing water bottle
Photo: Dougal Waters (Getty Images)

We all know that there’s various advice on how much water to drink every day. A long time ago, I’d heard that the appropriate amount was eight cups of water, which translates into a half gallon of liquid. I don’t think I drink nearly that much, as far as I can tell. Updated medical advice seems to suggest just drinking enough so that you’re not regularly thirsty is sufficient.

I keep my cup of water by my desk and during the morning I drink the whole thing fairly quickly. It’s a big plastic tumbler and If I had to guess, it’s around 20 ounces, just over a pint. After I go through my morning cup, I taper off after lunch, as I feel more full with food in my stomach. I don’t end up finishing another full 20-ounce cup until well into the evening. For some reason, I’m not quite as thirsty then, which means I hover around 40 ounces of water a day.

Back on the line in the restaurant I worked at, I would usually go through a quart of water within five hours or so. Standing in front of a hot wood-fired oven quietly made me dehydrated with a combination of the heat, the physical motion, and the dry air (I learned that the punishingly hard way more than a few nights). These days, though, my work environment isn’t nearly so infernal, so my habits have changed a lot. All this just makes me curious to other people’s habits. How much water do you drink a day? What’s “normal”?