Yes, water covers about 70% of our planet, but only about 3% of that water is fresh water, and 2% of the fresh water is in the polar ice caps! What should this mean to you? It means you need to start conserving water. You do not have to completely change your lifestyle to conserve water. Just changing a few things can help. For instance, do not water your lawn in the heat of the day; turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth; and use a more efficient, low flow showerhead.
The problem is, while there is a government-backed program to help both businesses and individuals with energy efficiency – Energy Star – there is no such program for water efficiency, yet in the United States. Whereas you can go out and buy a refrigerator and know that it is energy efficient because it has an Energy Star sticker, buying a water efficient showerhead is not so easy.
You need to look for a low flow showerhead, but not all showerheads have any special stickers to tell you just how efficient they are. What you need to do, instead, is to check out the flow rate. Make sure that you get a showerhead with a flow rate of no more than 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). A showerhead with a flow rate of 1.5 gpm is preferable.
In truth, any showerhead that you buy today in states like California will not have a flow of greater than 2.5 gpm (the Californian Energy Policy Act set the maximum flow at this level). But if you have older showerheads in your house, they very easily could be using 5 to 8 gpm! Also, no such act has been passed in most other states, so such water-wasting showerheads are still available.
Realize that using a more efficient showerhead will not just save water, it will also save energy. Just think: most of us like our showers to be hot, right? Well, heating up all of that water uses a lot of energy. Therefore, you should realize that using an efficient showerhead will not just save water and energy, it will also save you money! You will have lower energy bills when you use a more efficient showerhead.
Perhaps this is not enough of an enticement for you. Perhaps you think that low flow showerheads sacrifice the wonderful and relaxing shower that you crave. This is not necessarily true. Many low flow showerheads actually have excellent pressure and scope. If yours does not, it may not be a matter of the showerhead itself – rather, it could be because of mineral build-up. Also, be aware that showerheads with the same flow rate may have different spray patterns and water pressure – if you do not like one type, you might like another. Do not give up so easily.
The Environmental Protection Agency is coming up with a better rating system for showerheads and other appliance and items that use water. Currently, Australia has set up an excellent plan. Every water-using appliance, etc. in Australia has a water conservation rating that goes from A to AA to AAA. AAA is the best possible rating. With these ratings, it makes it easier for consumers to choose which showerhead (or other item) will save the most water (and energy!).
Because of these water conservation ratings, there are many more available efficient showerheads in Australia, and they are of better quality. And companies are more willing to provide ever-better showerheads – showerheads with air bubbles in every drop so that your shower will not feel “water efficient,” for instance.
Buying and using a low flow showerhead may seem like a small step toward water conservation, but any step helps. There are many more, in-depth reasons to conserve water that this article did not have time to list. For more information, check out the Environmental Protection Agency or other such useful websites.