What Water Conservationists Can Learn from the US Navy

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Who doesn’t enjoy a nice, long shower? The tranquility of a warm shower makes us forget all about our responsibilities, including our need to conserve water. While it may feel like showers transport us to some heavenly paradise, we must contend with the fact that we stay very much in our current reality where clean water is a finite resource that must be preserved in order to ensure there are more showers in our future  –  not to mention water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Fortunately, there’s a model we can look to in order to teach us how to shower like a pro – the US Navy!

No one knows water better than America’s sailors who call the seas their work and temporary home. It’s almost ironic that these mariners are surrounded by water when out in open ocean, yet all that seawater is useless at sustaining human life. So, the Navy had to develop special water-saving techniques in order to extend the limited fresh water stored on their ships. The model includes the “Navy Shower” which is a great conservation technique that even us land dwellers can adopt at home in order to cut back water consumption and utility costs.

The Navy Shower
1. Get wet for 30 seconds.
2. Turn the water off while you soap and lather.
3. Turn the water back on to rinse for a minute or less.

Bonus Step: Brush your teeth as part of the lathering process! This will save water at the sink.

That’s it! The “Navy Shower” uses roughly 1.5 minutes of water, compared to the 8 minutes used by the average civilian shower.  Stated another way, the average citizen uses more water in one single day than an American naval crewmember uses in 5 days. We can do better.

If you want to practice conservation but don’t think you’re ready to sign up for the Navy Shower life, then you’re still in luck. Switching to a low-flow showerhead cuts water consumption from 2.5 gallons per minute to 2 gallons. You can still enjoy the peace of a civilian shower while using 20% less water.

Whether or not you choose to install a more efficient showerhead, consider simply taking shorter showers. Just shaving 3 minutes off your shower will save you about 7.5 gallons of water each time. For those who shower daily, you’ll save over 2,700 gallons of water a year!

And don’t forget about the water that’s wasted while waiting for your shower to heat up. Capture it with a bucket and use if for cleaning, watering plants, or even filling up your washing machine.

With just a little thoughtful effort, you can make your daily showers a paragon of efficiency!

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