Away Doesnt Mean A Waste Of Water
Most of us in the United States take a vacation every year. More than 30 million Americans fly somewhere outside the country annually, and increasingly, we are opting to fly instead of driving domestically. And when we get to our destinations, we stay mostly in hotels or motels. Its there that we really let the water dogs out: The average luxury hotel rooms estimated water use is 475 gallons per day, which amounts to more than the average US household uses! We turn into traveling, water-sucking giants who splash about merrily, drinking, bathing, steaming, basking in hot tubs, and waiting in line at aqua parks in the desert. Yes, we are a curious lot in different senses of the word. Still, before we even leave our homes and begin acting water-crazed while on vacation, we waste loads of water in ways we may not even have thought of.
Leaving the hot water heater on when no one is there to enjoy the warmth could waste gallons. Leaving those sprinkler timers on when it rains and you arent around to turn them off wastes even more. And spring a leak or have a pipe burst and look outtheres a flood of thousands of gallons. Pipes burst more often than you might expect, especially in colder climates. And the average household leaks 11,000 gallons of water a year anywayenough to fill a backyard swimming pool. In fact, American homes in total leak more than 1 trillion gallons of water every year. That is the equivalent of the annual water use of Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago combined. If you arent around to spot a leak in your house, the problem only worsens.
Yet, we often dont just leave our water troubles behind; we take them with us. Bottled water seems almost a travel necessity for people. Too bad airport security doesnt feel the same way. Millions of liter bottles are confiscated each year, and the water in them is wasted along with the water used to make all the plastic.
Another mindless waste of water is the hotel laundry service. Every guests laundry must be washed separately. (The laundry service isnt like your mom; it doesnt know which socks are yours.)
While were at our travel destinations, we end up using, on average, three times more water than the people who actually live in the locale were visiting. Its those long showers, hot baths, and excess, well, everything that we imagine we deserve when we are on vacation. And because we dont want to take risks with the local water, we use more of that bottled stuff.
For us visitors who find things alien to us weird and who somehow expect conditions no matter where we are to be just like at home, an education process needs to begin.
- Locking up should leave little room for error. Imagine if you werent around to catch a bad leak or a pipe bursting? Shutting off the main water valve to your house makes a lot of sense and may help prevent a call to your insurance company.
- Your hotel may not charge you (yet) for the water you use in your room. But thats no reason to use more water than you would at home. And certainly having your hotel do your laundry is a poor (and expensive) water option. Be a good guest and watch your water use.
- It may be okay to drink the water. Many countries have cleaner water supplies than youd find at home. No reason to drink from the bottle when youre visiting a place whose name you can find on the label of bottled water at the supermarket.