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02.21.12Alan Harris

Let’s Be Honest About How Much Water “We” Really Use

Jacuzzi TubI am sure the water use of my dad's tub is more than my shower.

When I previously commented on my teenage daughter’s water use and the fact my water bill dropped in half when she went to college, she responded in kind with a short comment. Behind the scenes, I received several comments about her comments and requests for her to expand her comments to a full post. I hope you enjoy her post more than me.

At the request of my “know-it-all” Father I have decided to write a small blog entry to serve as an explanation to why I am correct and my father is not. This justification is three fold.

For starters, as you all know it is winter time and because of this cold weather, shorts are not included in the everyday wardrobe. No shorts, no shave. I spend up to ten minutes shaving my legs when I’m in the shower, and according to Martha’s previous post , subtracting the time I use to shave, goes a long way towards saving water.

Now while I don’t have purple hair, my hair does come down to my mid back. If you know my Dad, you know that he lacks the luscious locks gene. As luck would have it, long hair does require more maintenance, i.e. more water.

I am proud however to say that I hardly ever use hundreds of gallons of water to stew in my own filth. If you are not familiar with this concept, most people refer to it as a bath. Something my Father failed to reveal in his previous comment about our water bill, is how exceedingly larger his monstrous tub is in comparison to the average bathtub.

The measurements of this Jacuzzi tub (complete with the champagne bubble package) my mother swears to be a bathtub, are 66” by 32” by 24”. Per my dad’s calculations it takes around 250 gallons to fill the “bathtub”. My showers, which on average vary from 10-20 minutes long, will use about 25 gallons of water for every 10 minutes the water is running. Even if I did take these incredibly long showers Dad claims I take, I would only use a maximum of 50 gallons of water, which is less than a quarter of the mutant bathtub’s water consumption.

So this is to you Dad. Next time you want to call your daughter out on her water consumption, maybe you should do a little investigating in your own water expenditure before hand.

Taylor is a college freshman in pursuit of a yet to be determined degree. Much to the delight of her father and mother this semester Taylor is commuting to a local university from home. When she is not studying, working or taking long, hot showers, Taylor likes to dabble in art.

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Alan Harris

Alan Harris is a water management pioneer. With roots in landscape architecture, Alan has worked with irrigation throughout his career experimenting with hydrozones and a variety of high efficiency irrigation systems. Now, over thirty years in the landscape industry, Alan continues to stay apprised of the latest technology even in a sales leadership capacity as our Director of Sales Operations for our landscape maintenance division. In addition to his contributions to this blog, Alan keeps his hand in water management as a regular contributor to Lawn & Landscape Magazine and speaker at WaterSmart Innovations Conference.

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COMMENTS (8)

  1. Tuesday, 8:49 Richard Restuccia

    Taylor, sometimes the truth is so funny it makes me laugh until I cry. I guess we can all learn the lesson, if we are going to be advocates for water we are going to be under the microscope from others. In support of Alan, I think people enjoy (and should enjoy) water in many ways. I think its okay to save water in some areas to enjoy it in others.

  2. Tuesday, 11:36 Alan Harris

    @Richard – thank you for understanding and appreciating the fact water should be enjoyed.
    .
    @Taylor – a couple of clarifications…while everything you say is true please remember I am a large person so I displace a lot of space so I don’t need the full 250 gallons. Secondly, I never take a bath alone (I know…ewww) so even more water is displaced. I calculate we only actually use about 100 gallons divided by 2 people is 50 gallons a person, which is the same amount used by one of you “short”, non shaving showers. Another advantage of taking a bath is you don’t have to wait for the water to warm up. Plug the tube, turn the water on and wait a few minutes for the hot water to mix with the cold water. Whereas in a shower the first 3 – 4 minutes of water runs down the drain unused (unless you catch it in a bucket and use it to flush toilets or water the plants). Finally, when I do finish stewing and drain the tub the river flows a little higher in Alabama and Florida. http://valleycresttakeson.com/trends/unintended-water-consequences-%e2%80%93-lake-sidney-lanier/

  3. Tuesday, 12:27 Taylor Harris

    Solid counter argument. I would expect nothing less from a water geek of course. Give me a decade or so to catch up to you intellectually wise, and I’m sure I can argue something even better than the use of bath tub water.
    Much love as always!

  4. Tuesday, 12:35 Jeremy Benkin

    WOW – I was with you for a while, Alan (and really enjoyed the comment re: luscious locks) but no matter how you want to spin it a jacuzzi tub is an indulgent use of water.

  5. Tuesday, 2:13 Caroline

    A great argument by your daughter, Alan. Oh, and let me say that I never thought I’d see you in a tub.

  6. Tuesday, 2:29 Martha Golea

    Oooh I really thought she had you there, Alan, but your math works out. Strong cases on both sides.
    Taylor, thanks so much for sharing this realistic view of Harris Home water use and for keeping your dad accountable. 🙂

    Is there any truth to the rumor I’m starting that Restuccias take Navy showers? Let’s have a guest blogger from that camp, too.

  7. Wednesday, 5:13 Mampiti

    Wow! I love your daughter!

  8. Wednesday, 9:15 Alan Harris

    First – an apology to my daughter. My calculations were correct IF the tub was square AND the walls were straight AND there was not an overflow drain several inches from the top. As a result of theses conditions the manufacturer website says the max fill is 110 gallons. Since there are two people using the tub we only fill it up a little over 1/2 way so less than 60 gallons for 2 people with is the same as using 30 gallons in the shower.
    .
    Second – According to the California Energy Commission a bath may use less energy than a shower. To know for sure you will have to try this experiment at home: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/myths/shower_vs_bath.html.

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