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no impact experiment – day 6: water

heading home along the Greenway, after heavy rain

heading home along the Greenway, after heavy rain

Water – sometimes it can seem as if we have too much … but I know that in the end, we have too little.

I think alot about the water we are consuming.  Laundry, dishwashing and showering probably top our list in water consumption. We’ve done what we can to improve efficiency and lessen water usage around the house.  We have an efficient front-loading (low water) washing machine.  We’ve installed flow inhibitors on a few faucets.  We turn the faucet off when brushing teeth, and try not to let the water run while hand-washing dishes.

Roadrunner energy/water-saving shower head

Roadrunner energy/water-saving shower head

One of my favorite energy-saving/water-saving devices we have installed in all of our showers is the Evolve Roadrunner showerhead.  It saves water through the 1.5 gpm flow-rate, but the built-in “pressure compensating technology” makes it feel like a more substantial flow-rate.  The real innovation lies in the temperature sensor/trickle-savings mode.  When you first turn on the shower, it will run at full-flow until it reaching 95’F – at which time the flow will be reduced to a trickle, saving hot water.  When you are ready to hop in, you simply pull the “resume flow” cord, and the water will run at full-flow until you turn it off.  You save water through the low-flow head, and you conserve energy/electricity by not wasting hot water waiting for the water to heat up.  Great little device, works like a charm.

I’ve posted previously about my loathing of bottled drinking water and the whole bottled water industry (Obscene Water, Sept. 13), so I’ll skip that for now, except to say: please don’t buy or drink bottled water.  In the Experiment Guide, I found this little quote interesting – something that I had not considered before, especially when it comes to dining out.

Drink water instead of other beverages!  It’s the least processed drink you can consume, and actually uses less water (and energy) to produce and trasnport than any other drink.

It makes sense … although I’ll admit it might be a difficult “habit” for me to break.

One of the most revealing results of this day in the Experiment was using an H2O Conserve online water calculator to discover how much water I (and we as a family) actually use during the course of a day – which includes everything from the water I am physically using (washing, drinking, bathing, etc.), to water indirectly “consumed” through the fuel I use, the plastics I consume, etc.  Even if the number might be slightly off (per their disclaimer on regional factors, etc.), I found it to be quite staggering:  559 gallons per day – for ME alone!

Consider these water footprint numbers from the Experiment Guide:

  • 1 lb of plastic = 24 gallons of water
  • 1 lb of cotton = 100 gallons of water

I have to keep reminding myself that every little choice counts in the end.  But it’s often difficult to sort through it all.  Awareness and education are the keys to success when it comes to conservation.  All I can do is try my best to become informed and make wise choices.