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How much water do I use in the shower?
One of the single greatest personal uses of water is for showering. Old-style showerheads that were standard in homes and apartments built before 1992 dispense at least 5 gallons of water per minute, but low-flow showerheads produced after that year dispense just 2.5 gallons per minute. Given an average daily shower time of 8 minutes, calculate the amounts of water used and saved over the course of a year with old standard versus low-flow showerheads, and record your results in the table.
Annual water use with standard showerheads
Annual water use with low-flow showerheads
Annual water savings with low-flow showerheads
Your class (24 enrolled)
Your state
United States
Show work:

1. In 2010, the EPA began promoting showerheads that produce still-lower flows of 2 gallons per minute (gpm). How much water would you save per year by using a 2-gpm showerhead instead of a 2.5-gpm showerhead?
2. How much water would you be able to save annually by shortening your average shower time from 8 minutes to 6 minutes. Assume you use a 2.5-gpm showerhead.
3. Compare your answers to questions 1 and 2. Do you save more water by showering 8 minutes with a 2-gpm showerhead or 6 minutes with a 2.5-gpm showerhead?
4. Can you think of any factors that are not being considered in this scenario of water savings? Explain.
5. The rapidly growing Las Vegas metropolitan area is exceeding its allotment of water from the Colorado River. To meet its growing demand, Nevada’s largest city has proposed a $3.5 billion project that would divert groundwater from 450 km (280 mi) away. Do you think such diversions are ethically justified?
6. If this project were to destroy rural communities and wetland ecosystems at the diversion site in eastern Nevada, would this be an acceptable cost given the economic activity generated in Las Vegas?
7. How else might cities like Las Vegas meet their future water needs?