Californians need to cut water usage


(Reid Cammack / Xpress)

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Unless you live under a rock, you’re probably aware that California is in a severe drought. For the past year or so, most restaurants have had cards on their tables explaining that water is only served upon request and “brown is the new green” signs have popped up on more and more lawns, including those at SF State.

Unfortunately, not everyone is doing their part to help conserve water.

I found out that my friend, who we’ll call “Kevin,” takes three 12-minute-long showers a day because he said that’s the only way he “feels clean.” The average person’s shower uses 9-12 gallons, according to the Orange County Water District, so that means that Kevin is using anywhere from 27 to 36 gallons of water a day on showers alone. That’s almost as many gallons as it takes to do one load of laundry with a traditional washing machine.

When I told Kevin this, he said, “I’m just one person. It’s not like I’m making a difference.”

I’ve heard other people express that they don’t think their water consumption alone makes any difference. Although most people know about California’s water shortage, they feel that it’s not their job to try to conserve water because they feel that they alone won’t change anything.

The problem is that a lot of people feel that way, and everyone needs to do their part to help save water during the drought. It’s everyone’s job. 

I’ve been taking 3-5 minute showers every day for the past four years. I first started because I’m not a morning person and tend to wake up with very little time before I have to be up and dressed to get somewhere. Recently I’ve been doing it because I want to try to help do my part. Sometimes I also take army showers. I turn the water on, turn it off, use soap and shampoo, turn it back on to rinse and I’m done. This is also how I wash dishes.

Reducing your shower by three minutes can save eight gallons of water, according to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. That means that if you normally take a 10-minute shower, and you take a seven-minute one today, you alone can save eight whole gallons of water. That’s about as many gallons are used every time you flush a toilet, according to the Orange County Water District.

If all 30,000 students at SF State each reduced their showers by three minutes, thus saving eight gallons of water each, then SF State as a whole would save 240,000 gallons of water per day. That’s enough water to fill almost five 25-feet-by-50-feet swimming pools.

Saving water during this drought is everyone’s job, and it’s a realistic goal. No, shaving three minutes off your shower time tomorrow morning isn’t going to fix everything, but it will make a difference, and right now, that’s all we can hope for.