Today Fandango provocatively asks about our water usage, specifically showers and baths. He mentions that some celebs have stated they bathe less often than “normal” (for Americans anyway). The point of this question relates to the fact that California is in a drought (and has been as long as I’ve lived here), so what am I doing to help deal with our perpetually insufficient amount of H2O?
First, I take a shower (hot and long, ooh) pretty much every day. Very occasionally I will skip one, like on a Sunday when I have nothing to do and nowhere to go. I wake up in pain and the hot shower helps to alleviate that a bit. I guess I’m supposed to feel guilty about this, but I don’t. It’s basically my one indulgence.
Second, I do try to help in other small ways, such as being more careful about dishwashing and laundry. I “save up” for a larger wash rather than doing continual mini-loads, which I think use more water. I’m in an apartment-style condo, so there is no issue of watering my own grass, though we do have lots of nice landscaping that gets watered by the HOA. I have a few indoor plants I water once a week. The cats hardly drink any water, nor do they take baths, so we’re good there. Finally, I don’t always flush the toilet for #1 in my private bathroom at home. Flushing uses a lot of water!
Third, while it’s great to be conscious of how we contribute (or not) to ongoing problems, here are some facts. I know, this is normally a fact-free blog, but sometimes it’s good to shake things up a bit. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, about 50% of water usage in the state is for environmental, 40% is for agricultural, and 10% is urban. What is environmental usage? That would be water used to maintain habitats within rivers, streams, and preserves. As far as ag, we have over 9 million acres of farmland here, which takes 80% of all water for business and homes. (That’s 80% of the 40% apparently, meaning 32%.) We provide a lot of the food for the rest of the country, despite how they’re always bitching about us (I’m saying this, not the PPIC). Total statewide urban usage has decreased from the 1990s even though the population grew. Is that because we’ve been guilted into taking shorter showers? Somewhat, says the PPIC. The use of reduced-flow showerheads and low-flow toilets have helped. But according to the PPIC, the reduction is mostly from changes to landscape watering, which makes up about half of all urban use. By default, the other half (5%) is our personal use. So, yeah… five percent.
My point in stating some facts isn’t to say we shouldn’t care about the possible effects of our personal, daily decisions on the environment. It’s good to be aware of such things, imo, and maybe change some of our habits for altruistic reasons. But let’s remember that most water usage is out of our control, unless we want to quit growing food in California and stop preserving the environment altogether. As a side note, I dgaf what a bunch of wackadoo celebs think about bathing or any other issue. It’s my belief that they periodically say outrageous things to get their stupid faces back in the media.
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