08.01.13Alan Harris

Water Conservation Confessions of a College Girl (Pt. 2)

Water Conservation meets long hot showersSometimes a hot shower is a welcome indulgence even at the risk of water conservation #fail.

Photo courtsey of apurdam (Andrew)

What does a girl do when the 5 minute timer ends and the soothing hot shower comes to an abrupt end? In part 1 my daughter provided background while studying abroad in New Zealand with the UGA Discover Abroad Program. The following is the rest of her story.

My precious hot water was gone. The way I saw it, it was me versus the shower; and I wasn’t accepting defeat. My time was up, my 5 minutes had passed. The shower had told me so with its horrible cold reminder.

I marched my defiant, soaking wet self out of the shower. Pushing aside the curtain, passing the bench where my stuff laid, I opened the door. The door opened outward which is important because this meant I had to open it, and walk around it to make my way to the evil shower button. Now dripping wet in the bathroom hallway, it occurred to me I had not picked up my towel to cover myself!

When I entered just some 6 minutes ago the facility was empty. No need to cover yourself from others when there are no others around right? I’m a girl on a mission! I don’t have time for pesky little things like grabbing a towel. I just wanted my hot water back! I smacked the button (a little harder than I should have, but at this point I was agitated and cold) Then I heard footsteps, which was no surprise because the universe likes to embarrass me every chance it gets. I hurried myself around the door I had swung open to enter the bathroom hallway, and shut myself on the other side so and I was hidden from the untimely entrance of other traveling guests. My almost embarrassing encounter was just another complication, and nothing was going to stand between me and my next 5 minutes of hot water.

It was dreamy. The water felt better than ever after having stood wet in the cold, and might I add, breezy hallway. I had fought for these 5 minutes, and I wouldn’t let them escape me. I would use every second of this heat, and relish in my triumph, celebrating by shaving my legs and conditioning my hair. Sure, I was practically moving like I had just downed a Starbucks quad espresso; doing everything so quickly I dropped my razor a few times. I was quite twitchy, but I managed. I completed what I could in those last 5 minutes, my one minute hit me, and the razor sharp glacier water skated across my back telling me my warm bliss was nearing the end. I accepted it this time, and finished my shower feeling satisfied, not relaxed and soothed, but all the same, I had managed.

I wish I could say this taught me to take shorter showers, but I’m not set on being a liar. This community which was so clean, and so environmentally friendly had come with a price. It asked many things of its visitors, and in return it gave them a beautiful, safe and clean place to call home. Water conservation was just one small part of this community’s effort to maintain its green stature, and this small Holiday Park was just one small facility that aided these efforts. The next night I took a 5 minute shower. I washed my hair, washed my body and called it a day. I gave up shaving, and conditioning, instead I learned to do these things as outside shower activities, not using running water.

It took more for me, more effort, more time, and a panicky naked attempt, to get those 5 extra minutes of shower time. The sign had told me to just use 5 minutes, and I had told the sign to take a long walk on a short pier. Dear guests, please don’t be so selfish, please conserve water. I saw them, “water conservation”, the words were never there, but I saw them clear as day. Only, the first time I had looked at them, I hated them for what they asked of me, “Dear Taylor, you have 5 minutes, make do”, but I didn’t want to “make do”! We are all faced with the decision between what is right, and what is easy (Dumbledore-yay Harry Potter quote), but there is truth to this. In my choice, it was easy to ignore the sign, get my longer shower; but it would have been right, to have listened, to conserve.

While I appreciate the life lesson my daughter learned the hard way, the reality is only so much water can be conserved in the shower. Her extra 5 minutes likely used less than 10 gallons of water. Irrigation zones use 15 – 35 gallons or more per minute. In the same 10 minute time frame an irrigation zone will distribute 150 – 350 gallons of water. Still take short showers, but to make a big contribution to water conservation be sure your irrigation system includes the best conservation tools like smart controllers, flow sensors, rotary nozzles and drip irrigation.

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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 and Regional Sales Leader 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.


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  1. Thursday, 12:39 Lorraine DiBacco

    Guilty of long indulgent showers myself. Where else are you going to sing and get all those great ideas?? Will cut back outdoors for sure now that I’ve drowned all my drought tolerant plants.

  2. Thursday, 2:40 Alan Harris

    Lorraine – I agree and believe iTunes has been a major contributor to many a long shower and hopefully some worthwhile innovation.

  3. Friday, 7:51 Richard Restuccia

    Taylor, thank you for sharing your experience with all our readers. I hope to see more contributions from you in the future!

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