Water Conservation in the Shower

This is not that old joke about conserving water by showering together. Experience says you’re likely to be in there long enough to negate any water savings.  There are still benefits, but none of them are conservation-related 🙂

As I fill each of my 7-gallon water containers for long-term storage, and lug the almost 60-pounds down to our basement storage area, I’m filled with newfound respect for clean, purified water.  It even tastes better when I drink it.  I’m no longer a slave to milk and pop.  There was a day when I lacked the will power to drink plain water, but now I appreciate it so much more.

And so I’m increasingly agitated by just how much of this wonderful, life-giving, purified water we waste all the time.  I’m not ready to give up indoor plumbing anytime soon, but I’ve realized just how amazingly efficient outhouses were, back in the day.  Zero water usage for an unlimited number of people.  Think of how much water we waste for the privilege of going to the bathroom indoors.

I’ve also started to notice how much water I waste waiting for the hot water to make its way up the pipes to my bathroom sink before I shave – or to the shower.  In a survival situation my family could live quite well, and indefinitely, on 5 gallons of water per day, per person.  Yet the average household uses 12-14 times that.  My family could survive on much less in the short term.

All that being said, I’m looking for ways to cut down on water, and I’m not just looking at convenient ways.  I’m willing to get creative, and it’s just lucky that I found one way that is both creative and convenient.  My shower has an extra attachment with a hose, which I’ve never really needed.  The up side is that there is a push/pull button that redirects water to the hose, cutting off water to the main shower head.  This gave me an idea: clog the hose, and I can effectively shut my water off during the middle of a shower when I’m shampooing, or scrubbing.  The faucet knobs will remain in the same position, preserving the water temperature for a few minutes between uses.

In the pictures below you can see my shower setup, and how I plugged the extra shower head with just a few inches of paracord, tied in a half-hitch knot and stuffed into the head.  Don’t stuff it into the hose, or water pressure pushing on it could move it.  By stuffing it into the head and making sure it’s firmly planted, added water pressure will only serve to keep it in place.  Paracord is a nice material because it’s easy to remove (no permanent clogging) and it’s synthetic so it won’t rot.  It’ doesn’t need to be 100% sealed – reducing the flow to a dribble is good enough for my purposes.

By clogging my extra shower head with paracord, I'm able to create a shower where I can turn water flow off, and the water temperature will be just right when I turn it back on a few minutes later.

By clogging my extra shower head with paracord, I'm able to create a shower where I can turn water flow off, and the water temperature will be just right when I turn it back on a few minutes later.

Keep in mind that the longer you do this, the cooler the hot water in the pipes will be when you turn it back on.  But I just need it “paused” for a couple of minutes at a time, so it’s perfect.  This should turn a shower with 10-15 minutes of water usage into a shower with less than 5 minutes of running water.

I’m also going to try another change in bathroom water habits – not waiting so long for hot water.  I’m guessing that by waiting for shower/shaving water to be just “acceptable” instead of perfect, I can cut the wait/waste in half.

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