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Water saving tip #6

By James Lombard   (2016-03-03)

Take a shower instead of a bath

Conventional wisdom holds that a shower typically uses less water than a bath, but this case is not as clear-cut as most may think. It depends on a couple of factors: The size of your bath, the length of the shower and the flow rate of the shower head.

According to Eskom's shower head fact sheet any shower head using less that 10 L/min can be considered a water-saving shower head. Standard shower heads generally flow at around 15 L/min.

The average person uses about 80 litres per bath. The following figure compares this amount to that used by shower heads of 4 different flow rates, namely 5, 10, 15 and 20 L/min:

The horizontal black line gives the amount of water used by an average bath (80 L), which stays constant over time. The vertical dotted black line is drawn at 8.2 min, which is the average duration of a typical shower.

It can be seen that an 8 minute shower using a 10 L/min shower head uses the same amount of water as the average bath. Choosing a shower over a bath therefore only truly saves water if showering times are reduced to 5 - 6 minutes and a water-saving shower head is installed.

If you use a 7 L/min shower head, such as those made by the AM conservation group inc., and reduce your showering time to 6 minutes, taking a shower can save 38 L/day vs. the average bath. This translates to 14 000 L per year for each person in a household.

If you furthermore consider that this water needs to be heated, this not only leads to significant savings on your water bill (about R 380 per year), but also on your electricity bill (about R 960 per year). This easily compensates for the cost of a water-saving shower head, ranging from R 80 - 800.