A Shockingly Easy Way to Avoid Wasting Thousands of Gallons of Water a Year

According to new research by Technavio, a London-based market research firm, the global bath and shower products market is expected to exceed $10 billion by 2019.

But while we are increasingly interested in new products to use in the shower, are we also thinking about all the water that’s wasted while we’re showering?

“Typically 20 percent of every shower, the duration, is essentially lost,” said Jonah Schein, technical coordinator for homes and buildings for the EPA’s WaterSense program. “The average shower is a little over eight minutes long, so that’s a good chunk of the shower that we’re not actually being able to utilize.”

The EPA says a five-minute shower uses between 15 to 25 gallons of water. According to the agency, Americans go through 1.2 trillion gallons of water every year just for showering. That's enough to supply the water needs of New York and New Jersey for a year.

But there’s a super simple shower hack that, if everyone would do, would help save 1.4 trillion gallons of water every year: Switch to a low-flow showerhead.

The findings are part of a new study conducted by Angie’s List, an online home services marketplace. Simply by switching from a conventional showerhead to a low-flow showerhead, your daily shower water usage will drop from around 20.5 gallons to 5.1 gallons—a savings of more than 15 gallons every day.

That amounts to saving more than 5,600 gallons of water a year—and over 386,000 gallons over your lifetime.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"612125","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"454","style":"width: 600px; height: 389px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"700"}}]]

Some conventional showerheads pump out as much as 2.6 gallons per minute. But low-flow showerheads that are approved to carry the WaterSense label meet the EPA's water-saving standard of no more than 2 gpm.

The study also includes an analysis of potential monetary savings by state. New Yorkers could each save about $70 a year by making the switch. The most savings would be in Hawaii, where residents could prevent nearly $110 each year from going down the drain.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"612126","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"861","style":"width: 600px; height: 738px;","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"700"}}]]

Iif everyone made the switch, the country would save around $14.5 billion a year, enough to pay the average annual wage for 312,000 Americans.

Read the full report.

Want to find out the difference you can make by switching? Just plug your numbers into the water savings calculator below and find out.

Brought to you by Angie's List

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.