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8 TAKE A BUCKET SHOWER

This action focuses on reducing the water needed to shower by taking 1-3 gallon bucket showers.

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why?

bucket shower infrastructureThe average 10 minute shower uses anywhere from twenty to forty gallons of water. Showering is the largest daily water use outside of irrigation for lawns. A 'low flow' showerhead has a flow rate of 2 gallons per minute (20 gallons for a 10 minute shower) while the average showerhead is 4 gallons per minute (40 gallons for a 10 minute shower). By using less running water in the shower everyday, you can save up anywhere from 10-20 gallons of water.

The 1992 Federal Energy Policy Act required all toilets, sink faucets and showerheads manufactured in the United States after January 1, 1994 be low-volume fixtures. Toilets must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf); sink faucets no more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm); and showerheads no more than 2.5 gpm. Fixtures installed before 1994 were not required to be retrofitted; therefore, 5 to 7 gpf toilets and 3 to 4 gpm sink faucets and showerheads are still in extensive use throughout the United States (Metropolitan Council).

This action is the most extreme way to change your habit of showering. But, you may find it is preferable to turning the water on and off (navy shower) or constantly watching the clock in an effort to take shorter showers. This action allows participants to experiment with a showering type that is still practiced by a large percentage of the world to this day.


how to do this action:

Many people may be surprised by how little water is needed to take a cleansing shower. A quick rinse, soap up and after-rinse to clean your body can be accomplished fairly easily using as little as one gallon of water. Much of the time, the large quantities of water used by an average American shower perform other tasks such as warming up your body while showering, or massaging. With this in mind, bucket showers are often much more comfortable in warmer weather or climates when water is only needed for cleaning and not warming as well.

Experiment with different ways to take bucket showers to find how much water you find necessary to take different kinds of showers (for example, simply washing off, or washing hair or shaving). One method is to take smaller one-gallon bucket showers for most of the week, with a few larger (3-5 gallon) bucket showers once or twice a week to wash hair.


what will be measured?

KEY QUESTIONS

QUANTITATIVE QUESTION: How much water can be saved (for the average daily shower) when taking bucket showers?

QUALITATIVE QUESTION: How does the experience of taking bucket showers affect your happiness, convenience, health and costs?

BASELINE WEEK TRACKING

QUANTITATIVE
During the baseline tracking week before the project begins, use the corresponding spreadsheet (WTR8_BASELINE) to determine your current shower water use:

  • (1) Find the flow rate of your shower fixture in gallons/minute (see action text for more information about this)
  • (2) Time the length of the shower each day to calculate total water used per shower.

QUALITATIVE


Qualitative Scale

Using the above scale as a visual, rate each of the following criteria on the spreadsheet (WTR8_BASELINE) as it relates to your current showering habits/water use:

  • 1. SATISFACTION/HAPPINESS
    (Overall, how much enjoyment or dissatisfaction do you get out of doing and completing this behavior?)

  • 2. CONVENIENCE
    (How easy/difficult and accessible/inaccessible is this behavior for you to do and complete?)

  • 3. HEALTH
    (How healthy/unhealthy and safe/unsafe does this behavior make you feel?)

  • 4. COST
    (How much does this behavior cost? Use positive numbers for being above average and negative numbers for being below average and zero for being average.)

IMPLEMENTATION PHASE TRACKING

QUANTITATIVE
Using the corresponding spreadsheet (WTR8_QUANTITATIVE) to keep a log of how many gallons were used to take a bucket shower each day. Input on the spreadsheet to come up with an average daily water used per shower.

QUALITATIVE
Part 1 - Ranking


Qualitative Scale

Using the above scale as a visual, rate each of the following criteria weekly on the spreadsheet (WTR8_QUALITATIVE). Your answers should not be rated in comparison to your baseline week, but in general as a reflection of how you are feeling.

  • 1. SATISFACTION/HAPPINESS
    (Overall, how much enjoyment or dissatisfaction do you get out of doing and completing this behavior?)

  • 2. CONVENIENCE
    (How easy/difficult and accessible/inaccessible is this behavior for you to do and complete?)

  • 3. HEALTH
    (How healthy/unhealthy and safe/unsafe does this behavior make you feel?)

  • 4. COST
    (How much does this behavior cost? Use positive numbers for being above average and negative numbers for being below average and zero for being average.)

Part 2 - Blogging
Keep a narrative log of your experiences as you implement this action and how it has affected your life. Some of the following questions might be helpful as you reflect upon your experiences.

What was your experience of taking bucket showers? What did you enjoy about it? What were the struggles? What kinds of design/infrastructure changes would have made adopting this lifestyle change easier? What would you suggest to future participants?


resources

ACTION SPREADSHEETS

The spreadsheets referred to above can be found in the Excel file at the following link:

WTR8_Take a Bucket Shower Spreadsheet

If you prefer to enter your responses by hand, printable PDFs of each spreadsheet can be found at the following links (at the end of the project, all data will have to be entered into the Excel spreadsheet):

WTR8_BASELINE
WTR8_QUANTITATIVE
WTR8_QUALITATIVE