I am an advocate for water conservation because drought is a common problem in my home state of Texas and several other western states. Because of its limited availability, water has become a precious commodity in the U.S. and abroad. According to UNICEF, 884 million people in the world do not have access to safe water. This number represents roughly one in eight of the world’s population. That is why it kills me that my family is perhaps the worst group of water wasters.
I wage a constant battle for conservation in my house. At times, it feels like a quixotic task. My quest begins in the morning when my wife, KayEm, brushes her teeth. While she brushes, the water is flowing from the faucet. That’s 2-3 minutes of wasted water. To make matters worse, she turns on the shower to allow the water to get hot.
It’s almost comical to watch as I go around turning of the water while she comes behind me turning it back on.
I’m glad that the kids haven’t picked up these bad habits, but they waste water in their own ways.
My daughter, Nee, fills the bathtub with enough water to wash a moose rather than an 8-year old girl. I have to monitor the water level or else ships would dock in her bathroom. Sometimes I stop the water when it has barely covered the bottom of the tub. Nee hates it when I do this and complains that she doesn’t have enough water to play.
“You’re not here to play,” I reply. “You’re here to bathe.” She always runs more water when I leave, but that’s okay. She ends up with less water in the tub than she would have if I left her to her own devices.
She once turned on the shower and let it run while she undressed. I was startled by her screaming, “Daddy! Daddy! Come in here. Water is all over the floor.” I ran into her bathroom to discover that the detachable shower head had turned and was spraying water onto the floor.
After placing towels on the tile to soak up the water, I asked Nee why she didn’t turn off the water when she saw it spraying on the floor. She hunched her shoulders and gave me an “I dunno” look.
I was hoping to get some male solidarity from my son, N, but he is just as bad as his mother and sister.
The other night, as he used a gallon of water to rinse his 4 ounce cup, I told him, “Stop wasting water. Don’t you know kids are starving in Africa?” The whole family turned and looked at me with confused expressions.
“That doesn’t make any sense,” KayEm said.
“I know it doesn’t make any sense,” I said. “I just like to use that expression periodically. But seriously, you guys are actually contributing to the drought here in Texas.”
“You’re so full of hyperbole,” KayEm said as she walked away. Once again, my attempts to save the planet fell on deaf ears.
When KayEm does the dishes, she fills one sink with water for washing and places the dishes in the other sink for rinsing. While she is washing the dishes, she keeps the water running on the rinsing side. This drives me crazy. I often turn the water off and she turns it back on (see above shower reference). As much as I hate washing dishes, I often do them in order to save water (KayEm will argue that ‘often’ is a bit of an exaggeration).
No matter how much I rant rave, my family continues with their wasteful ways. One day the light will come on and they will realize the impact that their actions are having on the environment. And speaking of lights, don’t even get me started on their walking out of rooms without turning them off. I’ll save that for another post.
P.S. – This will probably be my last post on Mocha Dad because KayEm is going to kill me for calling her out. If a new post isn’t up in a week, call 911.