My Water Use Pet Peeves

Today is one of those Blog Action Day things, which I do or do not, depending on whether I actually have something to say. On water, one of their bullet points is this:

The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world.
From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.

Pet peeve #1 is that damn American obsession with the lawn. The sprinklers, on in the middle of a hot summer day, when they are least efficient, and about 30% of the water ends up on the sidewalk rather than the grass.

Pet peeve #2 involves flushing prescription medicines down the toilet, or pouring them down the drain, where they end up in the municipal water supply. There are still drug companies who recommend this method on their packaging. The optimal thing for the consumer would be for pharmacies to take back expired medicines, lest they get into the hand of unintended users, but this not happening on a large scale. Seems to me that the best way to dispose of them, betweeen any local collections – the Albany College of Pharmacy conducted one recently – is to dissolve, if possible, any excess pills in water, then put them in non-consummable items, such as coffee grounds or kitty litter. But I don’t drink coffee and don’t have a cat, so I’ve just tossed them in the trash. Do you have any better suggestions?

The Beach Boys- Cool Cool Water
The Beach Boys -Don’t Go Near The Water
The last song on Sunflower, followed by the first song on Surf’s Up.

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0 thoughts on “My Water Use Pet Peeves”

  1. I suppose it is human nature to be profligate in times of plenty. There is probably an analogy to be made with government schemes to stop wasteful spending because of the state of the economy, but it does make you wonder why they were spending the money so wastefully in the first place.

    So when we have plenty of water, we use it without thinking, and yet do we have as much as we think we have? I live in the north west of England renowned for its rainfall, yet we had a hosepipe ban imposed in July because the reservoir levels were low. And still people were saying: “I pay my taxes and I’ll water my garden as much as I like.”

    That sort of selfish attitude seems to be more common these days and I don’t think people realise just how fragile our society has become and what would happen if their taps ran dry.

    Maybe for just one day a week we should restrict our water use to what we can carry from the shop!


  2. Water, like electricity, is one of those things that people take for granted and assume will always be there. Yet all it takes is one natural disaster or—these days, even more likely—infrastructure failure to take one or both away.

    The sense of entitlement that Parrot was talking about is another problem, too, but I’d hope that level of selfishness is minimal, particularly in a time of shortage. But there are simple steps that government can do by regulating to prevent waste, like setting the maximum flow rate for showerheads, for example (some towns in the US forbid lawn watering except in early morning or late evening).

    One of the things Americans visiting New Zealand were always fascinated by is our toilets: The bowl holds very little water, and there are two buttons: Half flush for liquids and full flush for, well, more. Very simple water-saving accomplished just through better-designed, more efficient toilets.

    Contrast that with Kiwis’ discovery of American toilets. “They’re practically FULL of water!” I’m glad to see that dual-flush toilets are finally starting to appear in the US; it’s a simple example of technology that helps us conserve our resources without having to even think about it—and it makes selfishness irrelevant.

    I think that a combination of enforced regulations combined with better, more efficient technology can help conserve water—or any other precious resource.


  3. In westchester county where I live, the local police had a prescription drug return day, Police stations would accept any old drugs you had around the house, to be disposed of safely. They stated that most teenaged overdoses happen with drugs found in the home, not illegal drugs.


  4. I have rarely had any medication that has expired. I guess throwing them in the fire would be a good way to safely dispose of them, unless you have electric or gas heating. Then you’d have to store them in summer till the cold weather returned. I don’t know about toxic fumes from them though, maybe not such a good idea afterall.
    The biggest water wasting offenders here in Tasmania are the local councils. They are the worst for having sprinklers going on parks & sports grounds in the heat of the day. It just doesn’t make sense. I always water our lawn & gardens with a hand held hose to save on water because if I use a sprinkler in the evening I usually forget it’s on & it runs for hours or all night.


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