Shower vs. bath to save water? no, No, NO!

MabariafterA CNN story today on Al Gore’s new green remodel in Nashville gives some tips on going green. No. 1 tip: Give up baths in favor of showers. The story intones:

"Take a shower instead of a bath. Showers use considerably less water. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a five-minute shower requires 10 to 25 gallons while a full tub holds about 70 gallons of water."

There are so many things wrong with this I don’t know where to start.

First of all, a bath is not just a way of cleaning scum off one’s body. (Indeed, some bath detractors would say it’s a way of soaking in scum.) A bath is therapy, warmth, relaxation, a time to read, reflect, go back to the womb for a half hour or so.

And there is something wrong with these statistics. What does it mean that a full tub holds 70 gallons of water? Does anyone fill a tub to the top? No. And is that with or without a body, which will displace some water? In fact, maybe larger people should be able to take baths without public wrath, as larger bodies displace more water than their skinny counterparts, thus making a bath the more ecologically correct option. (From what I can tell, Al Gore and I both qualify for a bath pass.)

So, let’s not start throwing baths out with the bathwater. Driving to the psychotherapist puts carbon into the air, and a therapeutic bath could eliminate that need.

(Tip o’ the hat to Jeannie!)

(Photo: LAT)

5 Comments on Shower vs. bath to save water? no, No, NO!

  1. Amahl

    There is another option here. It’s called greywater. You can divert the water from going into the massive sewer system by setting up a greywater system. Then, every time you take that luxurious, therapuetic bath or shower, you’ll be watering your trees or flower bed or gardens. And yes, it can be done sanitarily. Also, you can divert your washing machine water(start using bio-friendly detergents of course!). For more info check out this site:

  2. Arthritis Victim

    I soak in plain hot water a couple of times a week whenever the pain gets really bad. After the water cools it goes into the garden, instead of down the drain, via a cheap pump from Sears.

  3. tarbubble

    i have lived in a house with no bathtub. we made do, but it was a pretty major sacrifice to never be able to slip an aching body into a warm, soothing bath every once in a while. a daily bath? no. i bathe about 2x weekly.
    i don’t have air conditioning. i own one television. i don’t run the heat unless it’s achingly cold. i buy almost everything secondhand and re-use as much as possible. i don’t have grass in my yard. but i do have the small luxury of taking a bath when i’m sore and cold or sick. plus, have you ever tried to shower a two-year-old? ha!

  4. sheila

    this from a guy who lives in a 10,000 square foot mansion, uses more than 10 times the power of his neighbors and travels by private jet? please. physician gore should heal himself and stop lecturing us from that lofty soapbox. he did a few things recently to “green” his house, but you could leave your shower on 24/7 and never get close to the resources this guy uses.
    i am so sick of gluttonous uber-consumers trying to get normal people to sacrifice their small pleasures while they gobble up everything in sight and greenwash themselves. like these remote “renewable energy” projects which blast the living daylights out of wilderness areas, and destroy the lives of rural communities so LA’s McMansions can keep all 5 giant HD-TVs on at all times. all “renewables” are not created equal. if they destroy wilderness, they cannot move forward, period, or we will have some other catastrophic environmental effects from that.
    CONSERVATION IS KEY, but I say look at your real usage and make good choices based on your own priorities…

  5. Brent

    Here’s a quick test to compare bath vs shower efficiency. This won’t work with a shower stall, but give it a try if you have a shower/tub combination.
    When taking your next shower, plug up the shower drain and observe at the end of the shower how full the tub is. Would that amount of water make a satisfactory bath? My guess is that it will be between 1/4 and 1/2 the minimum amount you’d want for even the most utilitarian bath.