Amid the ongoing droughts across the U.S., Los Angeles, Calif. residents have been advised to shorten their showers by four minutes. And even though many believe heavier restrictions should be placed on wasteful industries such as agriculture, as opposed to individuals, it makes us wonder: How long should we be showering to save water?
As of June 1, city dwellers will only be allowed to water their lawns two days a week, and have been advised to use about 7 gallons of water per person daily.
That means residents should be reducing their showers by about four minutes per person, and as usual, should be shutting off the tap while brushing teeth and shaving.
“Los Angeles didn’t just become one of the most water efficient cities in the world overnight – but regardless of how much we’ve already done, today is about recognizing how much further we have to go,” Mayor Eric Garcetti stated, per The Independent.
They hope these restrictions will make things better for the future.
“While the reduction in outdoor watering is important, it’s just one piece of our larger conservation effort – so if we want our children and grandchildren to be able to turn to the tap with confidence, we need to double down on the solutions that have made conservation a way of life in LA," Garcetti continued.
How long should a shower last, to keep your environmental impact low?
Some showers take longer than others — but there's a good chance your average shower is too long. In fact, according to Harvard University, the average shower takes about eight minutes, which is far longer than the amount of time that's recommended, in order to be mindful and save water. It's estimated that an average shower head wastes 2.5 gallons of water per minute, which amounts to 20 gallons of water for an eight minute shower. That's why they recommend getting out 3 or 4 minutes earlier.
Yes, you heard that correctly. In fact, environmental scientists say you should probably limit your shower to about four minutes. If your shower requires additional steps beyond the traditional shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, it's recommended to turn the water off while you shave, deep condition, or do anything else. You can still sing in the shower, but may opt for one or two songs max — save the full show for your bedroom, when you're sitting in your towel for 20 minutes or so.
If you need to set a timer, feel free to do so. It can be easy to get carried away in the nice warm shower, and forget that you are actually wasting some valuable H2O. So just be mindful, and even consider taking a few extra steps to make your shower as eco-friendly as possible.
How can we further reduce our impact in the shower?
In addition to cutting down your shower time, consider using eco-friendly and all-natural soaps, shampoos, and conditioners that come in recyclable or even compostable packaging (we love bars of soap) and opt for eco-friendly shaving products. Additionally, low flow shower heads are also solid additions to ever shower, to save water.
You can also put a bucket at the bottom of your shower to catch the clean, soapy water that would otherwise go down the drain — as long as you're using sustainable shower products, you can use it to water your lawn later (which is especially helpful if you, too, are facing water cuts right now!).