The Alliance for Water Efficiency reports that the average flow rate from a US standard shower head is about 2.1 gallons per minute. The standard European shower head is roughly 9 L/min [Be Water Wise].
Doing the math, a 5 minute shower consumes 10.5 gallons of water (or around 45 L in a European Shower). However, the average US and EU citizen does not take a 5 minute shower, the average is at or above 8.2 minutes, or 17.2 gallons of water.
That’s a lot of water! Imagine filling a tub with 17 milk jugs… To make matters worse, a survey by Energy Australia revealed 29% of the population in their study took showers TWICE DAILY! This means, our average shower consumption is significantly greater than the United Nations ideal projection of of 5-13 gallons of water for all consumption (drinking, cooking, sanitation, and hygiene).
Methods to Reduce Water Consumption
Replace the shower head with a low flow shower head.
Showerheads are a good way to save water and money. Reducing water volume and heater work means lower utilities each month. In addition, a leaky shower at a rate of ten drops per minute can contribute more than 500 gallons in water waste annually [EPA]. The following is a $21.00 option with good reviews and Water Sense Approval [Low Flow Showerhead]. Cheaper ones can be found at local hardware stores, but if you can afford it is worth paying a little more for the more efficient sub-2g/min shower heads.
We all need coffee in the morning, even the water heater.
Save your cold water in a bucket, while the water heater gets caffeinated. Use the water around the house (e.g. dishes, mopping, toilet, and all your plants because who does not love plants!).
Pee in your shower! Why are we peeing into freshwater?
In the average home, the largest utilities of water consumption are the toilet, the washing machine and the shower. So combine two of them: the shower is basically a unisex urnal. Ladies there is no shame, we can stand and pee too! Or squat if that’s what you’re into.
Turn off the shower, while you shamp that doo…
An exorbitant amount of shower water reaches the drain without ever touching our bodies. If we can simply reduce the amount of time the faucet is on, there’s easy water savings. Turn off the shower when you are soaping your body or shaving those long legs.
A simple and economical fix is to install a shower head shut-off valve. The one I bought from amazon works perfectly. It is incredibly easy to install and maintains the water temperature without any water flowing!
Are you Hitched?! Showers don’t need to be lonely…
Conserving water is better in twos. While your honey scrubs up, you can wash down. Generosity goes a long way, especially when you’ve got helping hands to scrub that elusive region right between your shoulder blades…
Reduce shower time and dont make the water works daily.
We can all appreciate the therapy of a long shower as a luxury, but maybe this is a cultural norm, that we need to change. Daily showers, are a modern phenomenon of developed nations.
Long&Hot showers everyday are bad for the bod anyhow.
Beyond simple water conservation, daily and hot showers remove important oils and fauna from our skin leaving behind dry and vulnerable pores. Our skins are naturally acidic and support loads of heathy bacteria. The soaps and hot water reomve necessary oils and create a basic environment good bacteria cannot survive in. One such bacteria victim was found to protect against acne breakouts. Read this post from The Sydney Morning Herald for that extra motivation to take luke-warm, short showers only two to three times weekly.
BONUS: Do you have a garden?!
Use biodegradable soaps, plug the drain, and water the garden! Plus you get a real appreciation for total water consumption when you are standing in it. Just imagine the great biceps from hauling your water waste after every shower!!
Finally, write March 26th-31st into your calendar as the “Fix a Leak Week”! Water Sense an EPA Partnership Program reports that more than 1 trillion gallons of freshwater is wasted due to leaky faucets each year [Locate Leaky Faucets]. Becoming water conscious is good for the environment, good for your budget and good for your health.
As a final note, check out my post about the Worldwide Water Crisis for more know how. See the link below for all the details for the “Fix a Leak Week” and easy steps to locate and fix leaky faucets and toilets. See my post Facing Water Consumption for my personal measurement of water consumption.