How Much Water You Need to Drink

Adults
The current IOM recommendation for people ages 19 and older is around 131 ounces for men and 95 ounces for women. This refers to your overall fluid intake per day, including anything you eat or drink that contains water, like fruits or vegetables.

Of this total, men should get around 13 cups from beverages. For women, it’s 9 cups.

Children
Recommendations for kids have a lot to do with age.

Girls and boys between 4 and 8 years old should drink 40 ounces per day, or 5 cups.

This amount increases to 56–64 ounces, or 7–8 cups, by ages 9 to 13 years.

For ages 14 to 18, the recommended water intake is 64–88 ounces, or 8–11 cups.

Women of reproductive age
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, your recommendations change.

Pregnant women of all ages should aim to get 80 ounces, or ten 8-ounce glasses of water, each day.

Breastfeeding women may need to up their total water intake to 104 ounces, or 13 cups.

Demographic Daily recommended amount of water (from drinks)
children 4–8 years old 5 cups, or 40 total ounces
children 9–13 years old 7–8 cups, or 56–64 total ounces
children 14–18 years old 8–11 cups, or 64–88 total ounces
men, 19 years and older 13 cups, or 104 total ounces
women, 19 years and older 9 cups, or 72 total ounces
pregnant women 10 cups, or 80 total ounces
breastfeeding women 13 cups, or 104 total ounces
Other considerations
You may also need to drink more water if you live in a hot climate, exercise often, or have a fever, diarrhea, or vomiting.

Add an additional 1.5 to 2.5 cups of water each day if you exercise. You may need to add even more if you work out for longer than an hour.

You may need more water if you live in a hot climate.

If you live at an elevation greater than 8,200 feet above sea level, you may also need to drink more.

When you have a fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, your body loses more fluids than usual, so drink more water. Your doctor may even suggest taking drinks with electrolytes to keep your electrolyte balance more stable.

Why do you need water?

Water is important for most processes your body goes through in a day. When you drink water, you replenish your stores. Without enough water, your body and its organs can’t function properly.

Benefits of drinking water include:

  • keeping your body temperature within a normal range
  • lubricating and cushioning your joints
  • protecting your spine and other tissues
  • helping you eliminate waste through urine, sweat, and bowel movements

Drinking enough water can also help you look your best. For example, water keeps your skin looking healthy. Skin is your body’s largest organ. When you drink plenty of water, you keep it healthy and hydrated.