Granted, BuzzFeed may not be the authority on water conservation. But, recently, the website took a creative approach to encourage its followers to use less water that got my attention, and it led me to look at water use from a different angle.
If I told you it takes about one gallon of water to brush your teeth, you could probably visualize just how much water that is by thinking of the gallon jug of milk in your fridge. If you learned that two flushes of a toilet uses six gallons of water, you may be able to visualize that as slightly more than the bottle supplying the water cooler at work. But when we get to large quantities – the 40 gallons for a load of laundry, the 100 gallons for an average car-wash – it becomes more difficult to “see” how much water really gets used by the each individual.
The BuzzFeed video gives us another way to consider the reality of our daily water usage: water weight. Imagine if you had to carry all the clean water you needed for a day around with you. In this scenario, the average person would be carrying 833 pounds a day or about 100 gallons.
There are two lessons to be learned here. First: appreciate your pipes. And, appreciate the forces at work to assure the infrastructure that delivers your daily water is maintained and kept up to date. If you consider 833 pounds of water per person per day coursing through water systems, it’s not hard to comprehend the wear-and-tear that can occur. If not for these water systems and their maintenance, we’d all spend a lot more time at the gym pumping up our water-carrying biceps!
Secondly, appreciate your water. I can guarantee if we all had to lug all that water, we would appreciate each drop a whole lot more! We wouldn’t waste it, because we would know the amount of work required to haul it. We would value water a lot more because we would know the cost of acquiring it. Whether it’s taking quicker showers or learning to live with a dusty car once in a while, each decision would be weighed in the pounds of water required. How much do you value water? What a weighty thought!