An old Australian joke (not sure if it’s still current). “Where is the best place to hide your money in England? Under a bar of soap.”

Thought I would talk about my shower use at home. The biggest and best change I made to my shower use was when we put in a thermostatically controlled shower (to replace the old one connected to the bath taps) and I was able to start showering using the start/stop method. I was introduced to this way of showering by my brother who lives in Broome, North West Australia. Broome is in the sub tropics and averages 604 mm of rainfall a year which is slightly less than London. But, 75% of its rain falls over three months during the rainy season which is followed by a long hot dry season, and using water smartly is required every year.

So, how does it work? Basically the shower is only on when you are getting wet in the first place or using the water to rinse off the soap or shampoo. The rest of the time the water is off. It’s that simple. When I first started showering like this I hated it! As soon as the water went off I just got really cold, but now I’m totally used to it and in fact far prefer it. I’m amazed how much more soapy soap is when you are putting it on in the absence of running water…

The flow rate from our shower ranges from 6.5 to 10 litres/minute, but I usually use a flow rate of about 7.5 litres/minute. Our shower is fed by a combi boiler which is in the kitchen and it takes about 45 seconds to warm up from cold (so wasting 5.6 litres for the first person who showers).

We have a four minute shower timer, which, if I turn on its side when the water is off, never gets to the end of the sand and I reckon I use a maximum three minutes worth of water. Usually I just allow the sand to continue running and turn it over after four minutes. When I am washing my hair (which is most of the time) it usually takes a leisurely six minutes approximately of standing in the shower, but for 50% of that time the water is off.

So, on average I use 20-25 litres of water per shower at home (25-30 litres if I am the first in the shower).

February 2012 – Showering like the Australians do