Global Water Crisis
There can be an overwhelming sense of helplessness when it comes to our global water crisis. I know a couple who recently got back from Las Vegas. The husband chuckled at his wife who was obsessed with keeping all the lights off in their room when they were not there. (The tour guide was quick to point out that the Bellagio uses non-drinkable, recycled well water.)
What Can You Do?
But isn’t that where it starts? In the face of such massive consumption of natural resources, does a single person’s habit’s really matter? Monitoring one’s personal consumption is one way people can feel less powerless, and if there are enough people doing it, it does make a difference. Enter WaterCalculator.org, one of many tools out there that empowers users to learn more about their “water footprint.”
The Water Calculator
I had my friends give the calculator a whirl, and they were shocked at what they found. First, that a 10 minute shower uses more than 25 gallons of water (one of them takes such long showers, they had to invest in a shower clock so they aren’t late for work). The site challenges users to keep showers to the length of two songs. To add insult to injury, one shower head uses twice as much water as the other because it is outdated.
Already at the third question, they were looking at their water consumption habits in a new way. The site has a clean, fun-to-use interface, which I think plays into their modern sensibilities. The couple uses apps to conduct every aspect of their daily business – why wouldn’t water conservation be any different?
In a world where 1 in 10 people lack access to safe water, the water crisis is the No. 1 global risk to our society. Meanwhile, by limiting their morning showers to the time it takes to Whip/Nae Nae and plan their James Dean daydream look for the day, they’re doing something.
Personal Water Use and Consumption
So what are some other things the couple learned, just from a quick sweep through this nifty tool? Their awareness of grey-water systems was raised, they’re now considering native flowers and grasses, and they may even someday be able to “let it mellow.” The also learned that a self-serve car wash only uses 14 gallons of water, compared to the 100 gallons it takes when using a water hose.
But it didn’t stop there. The tool also analyzed “virtual water use.” which accounts for daily commuting, shopping habits, whether they recycle, and more. They even learned that by donating their clothes to Goodwill, they are assisting in water conservation.
While most of the general public by now knows that Energy Star appliances are good and leaving the water run while brushing your teeth is bad, this tool was able to open up their eyes even wider using a language they speak – technology. We need more tools like these.
By: Chris Knippa, Owner of Kinetico Water Softeners of San Antonio http://www.kineticosa.com