Conserving water while washing your hands is important. In the face of the Convid-19 Pandemic washing your hands more frequently is vital, especially:

  • After interactions with others
  • After returning from a public outing, like a grocery store or work
  • After touching public surfaces including doorknobs, table surfaces, cash, or phones.

We are using a lot of hand sanitizer, but proper hand washing is best.  Water conservation will be increasingly important if hundreds of thousands of people begin washing hands more frequently and for at least 20 seconds or more.  The flow of the average residential faucet is between 1.0 and 1.5 gallons per minute. If each person lets the water run for the 20 seconds while they soap and lather, we waste approximately 1.5 quarts during those 20 seconds.  Multiply this by a regional population of approximately 1.3 million, each washing their hands four times a day, and we quickly realize the need to conserve water resources. That’s nearly 4 Olympic-size swimming pools of water down the drain each day.  And, then there is the additional cost of conveying and treating it in the water treatment plant prior to discharge or injection.

Water conservation is especially important since, in early 2020, the National Weather Service has reported “abnormally dry conditions developed over interior and west coast metro areas of South Florida.”   So let’s stay safe and water-wise by turn off the faucet while we wash our hands, and also when we brush our teeth, do dishes and other chores. Water conservation is an important resilience strategy, so we don’t compound an already stressful period with additional adversities.

Photo credit: Curology