08.25.11Martha Golea

Forget the lights, turn off the faucet

Running Water from Bathtub Faucet

I have a confession to make. This morning as I ran the water for my shower, I got distracted and accidentally let it run way longer than necessary to heat up.  Visions of 3rd world children missing school to walk for hours to retrieve [probably dirty] water spun through my head as I then took the shortest shower known to mankind.

So naturally, the first thing I did when I got to work was take a browse through the WaterSense website , a gold-mine of water efficiency resources. I stumbled across this article on the environmental benefits of water efficiency and was floored by the facts and those enormous numbers.

In 2011 it’s practically second nature to conserve electricity, right? You don’t “air condition the neighborhood” by leaving the front door open, you turn off the lights when you leave a room; these have been parental catch-phrases for decades.

But did you know that letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours? 14 hours?!

Hopefully by 2012 it will be second nature to conserve water. I believe the lesson starts at home, so holler it with me, parents: “Turn off that tap!” “Put a bucket under that faucet!” “You’re clean enough, kid!”

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Martha Golea

A seasoned communicator and passionate water conservationist, Martha Golea tracks projects in progress and reports on usage of new and exploratory irrigation technology and water management strategies. Martha also regularly contributes content on water management and conservation to Lawn & Landscape Magazine.


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  1. Thursday, 11:29 Lauren Hanson

    This is a great reminder of how much our everyday habits (and changes to them) can impact the environment and our bills. Thanks for another great post Martha!

  2. Thursday, 9:56 Alan Harris

    Shhh…don’t tell anyone, but a few years ago when Atlanta was close to running out of water we put a bucket in the shower with us and then used it to water the plants outside. I originally learned this trick from back in the 60′s when I was a kid. We would take a bath (as the youngest of 3, I was always the last one to use the same tub of water). When I was finished mom used buckets to take the water outside to water the shrubs. Since we only bathed every other day she had plenty of time to haul the water outside. We probably saved enough electricity to power an air conditioner…if only we had one.

  3. Friday, 9:33 Martha Golea

    Thanks for your comments, Lauren and Alan. I’m a strong advocate of both the “change our habits” and the “shower bucket” methods of water management. Cheap, easy and good for everyone, right?!

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  6. Thursday, 5:37 Gisela

    Is there any gadget you can put on the waterline that makes noise when the water is turned on.
    Children turn on the water outside and a couple hours later you have a mud hole. Plus your water
    bill is sky high.

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