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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Water conservation five minutes at a time

Y'all know I'm a tree hugger, and a lover of nature. I don't always show it, but it's always there inside me. And as much as I love technology and modern day conveniences, I also love nature conservation and balancing the footprint I leave.

I use to be one of those girls who spent days in the shower. Okay, more like thirty minutes, but you get the point. I used the excuse that a steamy shower helped me to wake up. It made for a long morning getting ready each day, which made for an early morning as well. Not to mention all the water wasted.

And then I received a gift that changed my morning routine forever. This:

That's a five minute timer from Shedd Aquarium. It's a little beat up because it's a few years old. I received it during a Shedd education event about conservation. Chatting with a Shedd employee about water conservation I was fascinated by how they thought five minutes was enough time for anyone to shower, and still clean all the bits.

So of course I took the timer home, and challenged myself to try. It took a few mornings to get my routine down, but I did it. It turns out five minutes is more than enough time to wash the body and the hair, conditioner too. And for those times when you need a few extra minutes, like to shave your legs, just flip the timer over to make it a 7-10 minute shower.

It turns out, I can wake up in five minutes of steamy shower just as easily as thirty minutes. And most of the time, I don't even need steamy either. I've been using this timer daily to keep me on track, and I've thought about taking it with me when I travel too.

I challenge you to conserve water by trying to reduce your shower time to five to ten minutes. Can you do it? You can use a kitchen timer or a stop watch. Just start the clock when you enter the shower and see if you can turn the water off before the time runs out. Let us know how you do!

PS. If you let the water run before you hop in, that's defeating the point. But some showers do need a minute to warm up in winter. Just keep the warm up to a minimum.

PPS. This is not a sponsored post, nor did Shedd ask me to write anything. Although I truly appreciate the education events they host, and the timer they gave me. They're more than just an aquarium. They provide learning opportunities as well. I met the ever so nice Larry Schweiger, CEO of National Wildlife Federation, at a Shedd crossover event. If  you want to learn more about conservation and global warming you should check out his book Last Chance. All of the author proceeds from the book are donated to NWF. How great is that?


  1. I'm starting to be more aware of things like water conservation. We live in an RV, so we have a small water heater, and we have to be careful how much we let go down the drain because we don't want the waste tanks overflowing (because, YUCK!). I'm getting better at the short shower, for sure!

    1. Oh yeah, wasted water for you means soooo much more than just wasted water. A great example of how conservation directly affects every day life. But you my dear are pretty good at reusing and recycling as well. Like when you repurpose clothes, etc. Keep leading by example my dear!

  2. Love this. I am a short shower taker. Our biggest water suck is the kid. That guy likes running water. I should probably invest in some kind of toy that uses the bath water because it's an eternal struggle.

    1. Oh yeah. Kids make this task a bit harder. And sometimes getting them to get clean is a hard enough task, so why rock that boat? Maybe there are other ways to balance the water use.

      Collecting rain water for the house plants instead of tap water is the only one I can think of off hand. Anyone else have other ideas? We could all use tips on little ways to conserve.

  3. This is a good idea! I've also been wanting to get one of those shower head thingys that lets you cut off the water flow without actually having to turn the water on and off. That gives you time to soap up and then you can just flip the switch back over to rinse off.

    1. I have a shower head that reduces the flow by just enough to conserve but not enough to notice in the water pressure. But I haven't heard about the one you mention. I'll have to look into it. Thanks!


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