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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Water Savings

This is mainly a couple of minor personal gripes, but I wonder about its broader implications. For years now these water saver technologies, such as toilets and shower heads, have been being pushed heavily. Supposedly you use less water with the same effect, which saves you money AND saves the planet.

I have noticed a disconnect between what is promised and what happens. Ever since we went to water saving toilets at home the water bill and usage has gone up. In theory one flush should take care of any problems, but it often takes 2 or 3 to get the same effect as the old toilets took. They also clog if you look at them sideways, requiring at least 1 more flush to get it unclogged.

I bring this up because the related issue of water saving showerheads has entered the personal scene. The school replaced all the old shower heads last weekend. About half of them did need to be replaced, but I wonder just how much water the university will save with the new shower heads. The water pressure on these things is terrible and it disperses the water in such a way that you hardly feel like more than any one tiny stream is hitting you at a time. Because of this my shower this morning took a full 15 minutes to complete because I had to scrub vigourously to get the soap film off. Before it was just high enough that a light scrubbing could knock the film off, allowing me to be done within 3 minutes.

So my question is, if 1/2 the water is being used per unit of time or usage, but it takes 3-5 times as long or as many usages to get the same effect then what is the point?


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