Thursday, May 22, 2008

the bad news first...

The world of water
Originally uploaded by Snap®
So I opened my mail today, and I found a water bill. I only get billed every other month, so I'd been anxiously awaiting this to see how much my bill went down this billing cycle.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw that we had used 2 CCFs more, and owed $5 more than the last bill! So the last bill, we used 3,740 gallons of water over a 61 day period, and this bill, we used 5,236 gallons over a 58 day period. What the heck. I give up.

Then I remembered something important...the last bill ran from 1/16 - 3/17. We actually were only at home for 26 of those days, and out of the country the rest. Let's redo some math...

OK, what this means is that our household was previously using 72 gallons of water per person, per day. I had previously forgotten to calculate our days away when figuring our daily water consumption, and therefore had mistakenly figured that we used 31 gallons per person per day. Oops.

So the bad news is that I wasn’t starting from as good a point as I thought, but the good news is that I didn’t somehow manage to increase my water consumption while trying to reduce it. That would have been a real motivation killer.

This month, our household used 45 gallons of water per person per day. I’ve proven that I’m not great with numbers, but I think that’s just shy of a 40% reduction for the two month period. Not too shabby, if I say so myself.

I’m still well above the 10 gallons of water per person per day considered sustainable according the riot4austerity calculator, but I’ll take an improvement like this for now. I’m the kind of person who likes measurable results, which is why I’m going through this perhaps slightly tedious exercise of calculating this sort of information.

So my lessons for the day are: 1. stop and do the math before panicking, and 2. It actually does make a difference to turn the shower off while soaping up, running the dishwasher one day less a week does matter, and it is worthwhile to turn off the extra rinse cycle on the washing machine!

1 comment:

Green Bean said...

It's amazing how things like that add up, isn't it? The good news is that it is pretty simple to forego some of those little things - I just have to remember to do it all the time!