Our Water Usage

In an earlier blog, Mrs Everybody mentioned how much hot water she could save making strip washing her primary washing method. She got quite excited at the prospect of reducing her energy bills, and remained somewhat stunned by the amount of water she had been wasting by showering or bathing each day. In this blog, Mrs Everybody is going to tell you some pretty easy, easy and even easier ways to calculate your current hot water usage according to your present washing system, and she’d also like you to read some info about water access across the world and watch a video of one very charming solution.

Mrs Everybody is trying to lift the water pot on her head. It's a struggle. Just as well this pot is empty because it would have gone all over the place!!

Mrs Everybody is trying to lift the water pot on her head. It’s a struggle. Just as well this pot is empty because it would have gone all over the place!!


You will need a bucket with graduations, (or a measuring jug), a timer, calculator, pen and paper.

Method A: Easy with a calculator

1/ Place the bucket under the shower head or bath tap.

2/ Turn on the faucet for 20 seconds

3/ Measure the amount of water collected in litres

4/Multiply by x 3, to turn the litres into litres per minute.

5/ Multiply by the number of minutes it takes to shower, run a bath, or a basin of water.

This is your consumption of water (normally heated) in litres per minute.

6/ Multiply this by the number of showers or baths you take each week, month or year.

7/ Multiply by the number of people in you household to obtain the amount of hot water you currently heat for washing purposes each year. Sit down for this one! Try to imagine how much water this really is in weight, or how much storage space this amount of water might take up!

8/ Compare the amount of water used in the normal washing methods to the amount of hot water needed when strip washing is the primary washing system.

Method B for the mathematical whizz, pretty easy.

1/ If your hot water is produced by gas read the gas meter, or if by electric, your electricity meter

2/ Wash for 2 days using you normal method of showering or bathing and re-read the meter.

3/ Then wash for 2 days (get everybody in the house strip washing for 2 days) and re-read your meter.

4/ Compare the number of units used between using the normal and the strip washing method.

5/ It is possible with the energy bill in hand, a pen and calculator to work out the potential financial saving.

Method C – no calculation, even easier!

1/ Just introduce strip washing as you primary strip washing method and trust that you are reducing your carbon footprint and water heating costs!

Mrs Everybody’s shower releases 120 litres of hot water during a 10 minute shower. Imagine if Mrs Everybody had to actually fetch all the water used in her household? If her only water source was a stand pipe one kilometre from my home, and she could carry 25kg for this distance, (she can lift 25kg, but I’m not sure how far Mrs Everybody would manage to stagger with it) then for her ten minute shower Mrs Everybody would have to make this 2 kilometre roundtrip about 5 times a day. That’s only for her – imagine if Mr Everybody wanted a shower as well? Then off again, Mrs Everybody would then have to get more water for drinking, cooking, household cleaning, pets and livestock (just joking – she lives in a terraced house) and more water for gardening and maybe to help a neighbour. Thank goodness she only has a cat, a small garden and her neighbours have water.

Well this really is the point of United Nations World Water Day which comes to the fore on March 22nd each year. While this date has just passed, still everyday, millions of people across the world do not have piped water in or even near their homes. It falls to women and children to make a journey, often several times a day, to buy water at a functioning water source and then carry, drag or wheel the water home. The cost of the water can amount to 1/10th of the household income. When they do arrive at a stand pipe, it may not work and if the water is running there is bound to be a wait.

Some of the water can be collected from rivers if they are flowing, but then certainly in Africa, women and children are exposed to crocodile attacks and really nasty waterborne parasites. The importance of bringing water to the household means that young girls miss school, women spend their time collecting water rather than engaging in other more productive tasks. With all of the difficulties involved women tend to collect little more than absolutely necessary. When households have reliable and relatively easy access to a little as 25-40 litres of water each day, then women can set up home businesses and can take better care of their family’s health and nutrition!

25 litres of water is a sort of minimum for a person per day and many people do with far less than this. Typically about 12 litres of this water is used per person per day for washing. It is good just to be aware of this to put our own water use into perspective.

Recommendations: Mrs Everybody and Boudi the cat watched this video together. They think that you’ll like it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMs_Z80JYls&NR=1 You will see that the energy of happy playing children can be harnessed to pump water from boreholes! We don’t think that this infringes any child labour laws!

Challenge: Can you be a stripper too? How much water can you save by introducing strip washing into your washing routine? Take up the challenge using low carbon footprint volcanically formed rhassoul clay and alum crystal for just £6.00.

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