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Water Use: Shower vs. Bath

It is one of the great debates to have long gone on when it comes to water consumption and conservation at home: which uses more water, taking a shower or taking a bath?

Around 20 years ago, the consensus was that taking a shower used much less water than a bath did. At this time, countries including the United States and United Kingdom also introduced regulations to cover how much water could flow through a showerhead. This was the primary reason for us all starting to be advised that taking a shower was better for the environment, as well as our pockets.

Considering the Variables
What the early advice didn’t seem to consider was the varying degrees to which people use a bath or shower. Who really knows how much people fill the bath? Are people 100% honest when saying how long they spend in the shower?

Taking a Bath: The Numbers
We all know that baths come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s difficult to have a definitive number around capacity. However, most ‘standard’ baths hold around 180 litres of water, and perhaps a little more. Therefore, a half filled bath means using 90 litres of water. At the same time, you don’t need a half-full bath in order to bathe comfortably. In fact, you can bathe easily with your bath as little as 20 – 25% full.
If you’re mindful of water use when taking a bath, you can limit your consumption to around 35 litres.

Taking a Shower: The Numbers
The volume of water you use when showering can vary dramatically. If you’re using a low flow showerhead or flow controller, then you easily use as little as the 35 litres we thought was acceptable for taking a bath. However, a power shower can potentially use double that amount, assuming you take a five-minute shower, but as more people tend to take nearer to ten minutes, you’re looking at a colossal 140 litres of water use.

Using Devices and Being Mindful
These are the two keys to saving water, and if you have a positive attitude, it doesn’t matter whether you shower or bath.Your approach should be to only fill your bath to 20% of capacity, or even less if you can, and run both taps together so you don’t waste excessive levels of water trying to get your preferred temperature.

The shower, a low flow showerhead is a ‘must have’ purchase, while using a shower timer or an existing alarm, such as on your smartphone, will help you to keep showers as short as possible.