Oh we let it mellow.

3 pees already! (I know I struggled with whether to include a visual...)

If it’s yellow…well you know how that one goes. I don’t know why we are so grossed out with a little pee in the toilet. If you’re drinking enough water it isn’t even that yellow and doesn’t smell and you can vastly reduce your water usage by flushing only when you need to (definitely flush #2 and after 5 pees or so- figure out what you can get away with without a clog!)

If you live in an apartment/house/condo that was built before 1992 chances are you have a toilet that uses 3.5 -5 GALLONS of water in each flush! Each person flushes the toilet an average of 7 times a day (thanks google, but count yourself! I go all the time because I’m constantly drinking water), which means you’re consuming 25-35 GALLONS of water a day just in toilet flushing! Luckily in 1992 the U.S. got serious with the Energy Policy & Conservation Act made it mandatory for all toilets to be 1.6 Gallon flushers. Most of the high-efficiency toilets (HETs) are 1.28 gallon flushers now & if you search really hard you can find ones that only use 1 gallon. But here’s the thing, if you’re flushing 7 times a day even in the most efficient toilet you’re still using 7 gallons of water simply for pee; what a ridiculous waste! Just to give you a comparative figure, the average person in a developing country uses 2.6 gallons a day for EVERYTHING (cooking, washing, drinking, & sanitation if they have it).

I hope you join me in the yellow revolution!

A few other quick water saving tips:

  • Taking shorter showers. I now only wash my hair twice a week (and I have BEAUTIFUL healthy hair for the first time ever) so my showers are super short: in, wet, lathered, rinse.
  • Turn off the water while you’re shaving your legs. You won’t freeze to death and you’ll get used to it quickly.
  • When you’re doing the dishes (if you don’t have a dishwasher- dishwashers are more water efficient!) soap them all up while the water is turned off and then rinse. You won’t run the water as much and the continuous flow means it takes less energy than if you start/stop
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7 Comments

  1. Briana says:

    This might sound really dumb, but I’ve never understood water conservation. I understand if it’s hot you’re using energy to heat it up, but isn’t water a renewable resource? Is it different if you use town or well water? [I've always had a well.]

  2. sarahguder says:

    Great question, and not dumb at all! Especially coming from the NE and with a well. So the water on the planet is finite (and about 3% is drinkable) and yes water is renewable. AND we actually have plenty of water on the planet for all the current people and the predicted people (Oki & Kanae two respected hydrologists), BUT the problem is distribution and flow. The first, distribution means that in MANY areas of the world it is really hard to get enough water (the # is 2 billion living in water-scarce regions), and it isn’t just Africa. Right now Arizona is buying more of the Colorado River due to needs and Texas was a serious serious drought and mayors had to ship in water or sell bottled because the rivers dried up. They banned landscaping and serving water at restaurants in some towns and a lot of shops had to close because water was too expensive. SO, if we conserved more in water-rich places, we could look into reallocating that elsewhere. And our areas might not always be so water rich (ie moving to California I now have to pay for water which I never did in Boston/NYC because its scarce out here!)

    The second problem, flow, has been largely affected by climate change. Flow in general can be tough if some regions get all of their water for the year in a 2 month monsoon period and don’t have the capabilities to store it. Climate change and human intervention has caused monsoons and flow variability to become erratic- some places aren’t getting their spring rains and sometimes they are getting them for shorter periods of time (which caused the recent/deadly Somalian drought). Water systems are hitting peak renewable limits (meaning the water WON’T renew itself if it gets below a certain level) but humans keep taking from the water body, diverting it with dams, or excessively pulling from groundwater sources (which not only damages ecosystems and can cause dry-ups, it also deteriorates water quality due to drilling down too far and having saline leak into it).

    It also has a lot to do with changing consumer habits. If everyone on the planet flushed 35 gallons of water a day and we didn’t want to treat sewage to drink (which Japan is doing now by the way), we’d have to wait for all of that water to be naturally filtered and turned into groundwater and then be able to be extracted which can take 1,000 years! But if we start conserving water wherever we are, and teach developing countries to do the same, we can ensure that we aren’t overusing this renewable resource and making it nonrenewable, because again it is a finite amount we can’t get any more than we have now, so we have to make sure we’re using what we do have the right way!

      • Wooot… I will take it…

        Here is some awesome water saving advice that I have used since the 70′s
        I have saved over 1/2 a million US gallons of water in 35 years:

        Take A navy shower (also known as a “sea shower”, “military shower” or “staggered shower”) A method of showering that allows for significant conservation of water and energy by turning off water during the “middle” portion. An initial thirty seconds or so are used to get wet, followed by soap and lather, which is then rinsed off in a minute or less. The total time for the water being on is typically under two minutes.

        One person can save 15,000 U.S. gallons per year.
        The idea has been adopted by many people who wish to conserve water and the energy needed to heat the water, for both environmental and economic reasons.
        Maritime cruisers often take navy showers when they are not in a port with easy access to fresh water. A ten-minute shower takes as much as 60 U.S. gallons of water, while a navy shower usually takes as little as 3 U.S. gallons.

        And make sure you turn off the water while brushing your teeth and turn it back on when you are ready to rinse.

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