Tim Nelson demonstrates daily water usage

February 11, 2008 8:12:06 AM PST
Eyewitness News reporter, Tim Nelson investagates if recommended 35 gallon daily water usage can be done.

Everyone has seen the pictures and has heard the pleas; conserve, cut back, save our precious water supply in this historic drought.

Raleigh's Mayor has even gone so far as to ask every citizen to use just 35 gallons of water a day. Some say that's impractical, if not impossible and wonder if that is realistic. So Eyewitness News' Tim Nelson decided to see for himself.

4 a.m.

"Good morning, it's about 4 in the morning, forgive the bed-head here, I get up pretty early, going to try to be pretty quiet, my wife's asleep in the bedroom," Tim said.

He brushes his teeth and shaves, using as little water as possible.

"We've shaved and now we're ready for what is probably my biggest single water use in a day, even though we try to keep it really short," he said.

And to reach our goal, it has to be fast. Water on to get wet, water off to lather up and then back on briefly to rinse.

Total time in the shower, 2 minutes, 13 seconds. And with that Tim is off to work.

7 p.m.

Fast forward several hours, after a day at work it is dinnertime and here in the Nelson household the quest for conservation continues.

"On the menu for the wife and me; pork chops, sweet potatoes and salad," he said.

The Nelson's use little water in the preparation, but their kitchen faucet has an aerator, which helps conserve.

When the meal is done, the dishes go straight into the dishwasher, no rinsing, and it will only run when full.

Before totaling up their usage for the day, there is a couple of items to point out about their usage. They have put bricks in the toilet tanks, which displaces some water and saves with each flush.

"We also limit flushing, but we do have old, inefficient toilets," Tim said. "And on average, I do two loads of laundry a week."

Tim found a water conservation calculator online and plugged in his numbers, everything from faucets to toilets to dishes.

"I'm disappointed to learn that, even with my short shower and minimal use around the house, I still come in at about 42 gallons per day. Seven gallons over the mayor's goal," Tim said.

However, Tim said that he learned some lessons, like if he buys a low-flow showerhead and more efficient toilets, he could actually get down to 28 gallons. Well under the 35 a day goal.

Tim Nelson: "Thanks for spending the day with me, hope this helps put conservation in some perspective."


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