Saturday, May 28, 2011

Simple Suggestion #13 of 100... Install a water-saving showerhead or a soap-up valve

North Americans, Canadians in particular, use more than our fair share of water. We have such plentiful rivers and lakes that it's hard to imagine such thing as water shortages. But the fact is that there are many places in the world where water is hard to come by, and if we are to live in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in those places, we shouldn't be taking our water supplies for granted. Since it takes a fair bit of effort and energy to keep our water clean and safe, we need to do all we can to preserve a precious natural resource.

I grew up in a water wealthy family as one of those teenagers who started every day with a shower, and often not a short one. In fact, it's only since I've had a family of my own that it has dawned on me that we don't NEED to bathe every day. Most adults can get by a lot longer than that without having offensive body odor. I'm not saying we should go back to the yearly bath (that took place in early June in the middle ages -- hence the traditional June wedding happening when bride and groom were both "fresh") but I'd like to suggest that perhaps North Americans could think about bathing a little less frequently, and about saving more water when we do bathe. I think a lot of us have already converted to lo-flow showerheads, but have you ever heard of the handy-dandy soap-up valve?

See the little round button sticking out of the side of the showerhead? That's a soap-up valve. So what I do is get into the shower, get warm and wet, then push the little button. It stops the water (mostly) and I soap up.

It has the added benefit of keeping the water set at the same temperature, though if it takes a long time to soap up, when I release the valve, the water can be a bit chilly for a few seconds. It is nice to be able to do a good, soapy full-body wash without water rinsing everything away before I'm ready. And it's really great to save water. Doing things like this has made me appreciate it more.

Beyond this, the next thing to do to conserve water is to figure out a way to have a grey-water filtration/pond system in my yard. Somehow, I'm sure that won't happen before we build our solar-powered greenhouse, so the soap-up valve will have to do for now.

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

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