You could probably make a post like this short and sweet. Pros: Long showers feel great. They are relaxing. A respite from the world with steam and good-smelling soap. Cons: They are terrible for the environment. Your waste water has to be processed, which taxes local resources.
How much is being processed? The U.S. Geological Survey has a great fill-in-the-blank tool that helps you figure out how much water you use in a day. Two gallons per minute. That’s the number the site uses for its estimates. I’ve been known to take 20 minute showers. Is it possible I could actually waste 40 gallons in a simple shower?
I know it is. And our water consumption is even higher since I have to add another two showers a day to the mix. Take my big girl. She’s got long, curly hair that needs to be combed through with conditioner. It’s not a quick process by any means, and my husband takes long, leisurely showers every morning, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if we wasted upwards of 100 gallons a day on getting clean. Not to mention running the dishwasher, doing laundry, watering the lawn, and all the other water-related tasks we do every day.
So who cares, right? We’ve got lots of water. Not really. According to the World Water Council, much of the poverty and hunger in this world is due to a lack of water. Sure, Americans and Europeans might have access to clean, sanitary water (100 and 98 percent of these populations, respectively, can make this claim), but only 64 percent of people in Africa have access to clean drinking water. About 80 percent of the diseases in developing nations are linked to unclean drinking water and unsanitary conditions. That just baffles the mind. And while we’ll probably never have to worry about good sanitation practices here in the States, we do have to worry about having enough water. Consumption is always on the rise, and if we keep going the way we are, we may run into trouble, according to the EPA.
I am glad I educated myself. My long showers are fun, but when one out of every six people in the world don’t even have enough to drink, they are a decadence that I’m going to cut down on. How about you?
Do you worry about water use or conservation? Why or why not?