Twenty-five seconds showers

Regardless of whether elected officials want to talk about this, we have a global water crisis that has been building for some time. Here in the states, it manifests itself in three ways: more severe droughts in drier areas, evaporating and depleting water sources, and too many lead pipes still being used to provide water to cities.

And, this is before climate change has made the situation worse. I have cited before a statistic from a Duke Energy report that said climate change will cause evaporation from their water sources by 11% more than before. The folks out in the western part of the US are seeing major river sources at risk with so many competing users and states. The same is true in other parts of the world such as Cape Town, South Africa and in Chile, eg.

So, there are many things we must do combat these problems. The first one is to get elected officials to stop their discussions around exaggerated and contrived topics and to start discussing real problems. Politicians are often too late to the game as they get little credit for actually thinking ahead to avoid a problem getting worse. That is unfortunate, as that is precisely what we need them to do.

The possible solutions are many, but none may be a panacea. With climate change, our water crisis can be boiled down to one sentence – too much sea water and too little fresh water. So, one solution would be to convert sea water into potable water. It is expensive and earlier attempts do not taste as well, but that may be the best option for us. This is more evident in places like Miami and surrounding areas where the Biscayne aquifer is protected by porous limestone which will not hold back encroaching sea water. But, I have not heard either of the two senators or governor mention this.

One approach that would help a great deal is to use less water to generate power. What gets talked about so little in renewable energy is many of the approaches do not need water. Solar energy with photovoltaic panels and wind energy do not need water. Fossil fuel and nuclear energy must use water to boil into steam and turn the turbines. Granted the water gets release after its used back into the source, but a portion evaporates each time. And, fracking to retrieve natural gas takes a huge amount of water that cannot be reused.

Another partial solution is cut down on usage, hence the title of this post. The twenty-five seconds showers come from those who served in the Navy on a ship. That is how much fresh water a sailor had to bathe. So, the sailor would rinse off for five seconds. Stop the water and bathe with soap. Then, turn the water back on and rinse off for twenty seconds. 25 seconds. I know most folks shower much longer than that, but just think of the impact if everyone just halved their shower time, even more so if they decreased it to something measurable in seconds.

The above is a good metaphor for cutting usage of fresh water along many lines. We need to plant more indigenous plants that grow better in an area. There is a reason alfalfa and wheat are grown in the midwest – they grow in the wild. We could also use more rain barrels for watering or build gardens and water gathering devices on the roof of buildings. And, there plumbing approaches that reuse shower water to flush toilets, etc. Finally, some locations have had success in significantly filtering sewage water into fresh drinking water.

Then, there is that lead pipe thing. Which is its own animal. Unless we want to keep on poisoning people, we need to do something about changing the pipes. The Flint, Michigan pipe issue is not an anomaly. I read where Chicago is having issues as well, but these places are only the tip of the icebergs.

I kept this piece short with intention. It deserves greater scrutiny and discussion, but we need to discuss them rather than some of the things that we do discuss. I feel like our elected officials are a bunch of Nero’s fiddling away. But, in this case, we don’t have the water to put out the fire.

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16 thoughts on “Twenty-five seconds showers

  1. If only one person practices these water-saving means, it won’t have enough of an effect, but, if ten people do it, then you might see a little, differnce, and, more people, trying to conserve the water usages in their own lives and means, then, maybe, the water shortage problem may be, lessened, the, hardest part is to get more people to recognize this as a problem that will have that adverse effect on their lives, and, get all hands on deck, to preserve the water sources, then, you might be able to, see the, difference.

    • Taurusingemini,

      So true. That is the reason for my title as it puts it easily into people’s hands to do at least something to cut usage. Another is to turn the water off when shaving (or brushing your teeth) until it is needed to rinse your face, (mouth,) legs or razor (or toothbrush) off. Keith

  2. MANY (many!) years ago, I seem to remember following those shower guidelines. I have absolutely no recall about why they were necessary, but I do remember the wet/shower/rinse routine.

    The thing is … as with no many other “warnings,” too many just pooh-pooh it as an over-exaggeration and/or they will put a political spin on it. Unfortunately, one of these days it’s going to become all too real.

      • Nan, true about the spin, but unfortunately the water woes are being felt more. So, maybe, just maybe, people will take notice. With that said, there are PR people in both parties looking to spin a story, especially once one party takes a stance. The weight on spinning these days lies far more to the right, but Dems are not without some spinners. Keith

  3. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    I don’t know about you guys, but I know my family wastes a LOT of water. We let it run long enough to get the chemical taste out if we’re going to drink it, take luxuriously long, hot showers, run the dishwasher when it’s only half full, and more. Our friend Keith reminds us of the impending water crises around the globe and how we can do our own small part to help avoid disaster. Thank you, Keith, for this important reminder!

    To our friends in both Florida and Canada … keep safe as best you can with the hurricanes that are coming your way. You are in our hearts today.

  4. When I began traveling to California, I often asked myself why they don’t use ocean water to solve their water shortages. Yes, it is expensive but an investment for the future. Today we see even better how much sense this would make.

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