Water Wednesday ‘The Cost of a Shower’

The Cost of a Shower

We have an on-going quest here at the Watershed Center to get people to value and appreciate water. We seem to take many things water-related for granted. One example is the simple act of taking a shower. Many years ago I had the pleasure of taking a group of high school students to Bermuda where fresh water is not so readily available. Students were encouraged to be frugal with the use of water, to do things like take short showers. In the span of a few days we had used our week’s allotment of water. We revisited the idea of reducing our water use and I learned most students’ idea of a short shower was around 10 minutes. This experience led students to re-think their ideas on conserving water.

I recently came across an infographic that made this point in a very powerful way. High Tide Technologies produced a graphic that shows how much a shower costs in countries around the world. A 17 gallon, 8.3 minute shower (U.S. average) ranges from three cents in Argentina and China to $3.38 in Papua New Guinea. That same shower in the United States costs 16 cents. For most (27 out of 35) countries this equals less than 1% of the average daily income for that country. There are notable exceptions. In Ethiopia and India the cost amounts to 20 percent, Madagascar it is 59%, and in Papua New Guinea it is 70%. If the average U.S. citizen paid 70% of their daily income for a shower, it would cost $83.

The next time you jump in the shower, take a moment to appreciate how lucky we are and please use this resource wisely. The High Tide Technologies infographic may be viewed at http://htt.io/cost-of-showers.

Jeff Birchler, Watershed Center Coordinator