Environment

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

A small change to something you do every day can make a big difference—and save some money, too.

Beautiful woman under splash of water against blue background
Photo Credit: Yeko Photo Studio/Shutterstock

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.

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.

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

 

Reynard Loki is a senior writing fellow and the editor and chief correspondent for Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He previously served as the environment, food and animal rights editor at AlterNet and as a reporter for Justmeans/3BL Media covering sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He was named one of FilterBuy’s Top 50 Health & Environmental Journalists to Follow in 2016. His work has been published by Salon, Truthout, BillMoyers.com, EcoWatch, Truthdig, National Memo, Green America, Regeneration International, Revelist, Resilience and BlackBook, among others. Reynard is also the co-founder of MomenTech, an experimental production studio based in New York and Prague that has presented dozens of projects around the world exploring intersections of culture, history, politics, science and sports. Follow him on Twitter: @reynardloki or email him at [email protected]ind.media.