The average shower head uses 2.5 To 5 gallons per minute. The average shower lasts 10 minutes. For a family of four this could be up to 200 gallons a day. When you add up the total use for the entire United States, that’s nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used just for showering. Enough to meet the entire water needs for all of New York and New Jersey for a year. The average cost of water nationally per 1000 gallons is $2. This comes out to $146 a year in water costs for the average four person family. If those showers are taken with hot water then the cost goes up to $1500 plus with an electric water heater, and$833 with a gas water heater. So how can one lighten the burden on their personal finances?
The easiest step to take in lowering the costs is to turn down the temperature on the water heater. By lowering the water temperature simply 15 degrees one can shave off $50 dollars on their energy cost annually. The next step that comes with a slight cost, is to install an EPA approved Water Sense shower head that puts out water at 1 to 2 gallons of water per minute. This brings down the annual cost of water to potentially $29.20, if all showers are taken cold, and $137 for hot showers. That’s enough electricity to power a house for 13 days, more than 370 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. This all culminates to an annual savings for the entire country of up to $4.8 billion a year.
In states like Nevada and California that are officially disaster zones at the moment due to drought, water and electric efficiency and conservation are paramount issues. Both states along with the majority of the Southwest are heavily dependent on the dwindling resources from the Colorado River. If everyone in the region did a little more to drive down electrical demand on top of conserving water there will be more to go around in the future. The key thing for communities of the Southwest to keep in mind as the population and demand grow and outpace the water supply is that the use of water and electricity are entirely intertwined.