Here in Australia, water has a financial cost. But of course there's an environmental cost too.
When I was a child in the 60s and 70s, my siblings and I shared the same bathwater. I'd go first, being the oldest and presumably not being grubby from playing outside, then my two sisters toe to toe at either end of the tub, followed by my three brothers closest in age all in together, and last, my Mum and 'the baby' as we called my youngest brother for years.
These days, most kids would just about gag at having to share bathwater. Why? Is someone elses dirt dirtier than yours? Especially within the confines of the family? Is dirty bathwater 'germy'? I think not. I was surprised to learn recently that many new homes do not even have a bath due to modern day water restrictions...hells bells! A good soak in a deep bath is one of the great pleasures of life! Not only that, but the bathwater would then be used to water Mums geraniums and tomatoes.
Whe I was growing up, we also had first a wringer washer, then a twin tub that you had to fill with the hose in order to use. Well, no-one would bother filling and emptying the machine more than once. So the whites would go in first, followed by the 'cleanish' coloureds, then the 'dirtier' coloureds, and finally sheets and towels. Frankly the washing came out just as clean with the continuing addition of a little extra suds in every second load, and we saved heaps on water useage AND soapowder.
What's gone wrong? Why are we cleaning ourselves into a frenzy? Why do we allow water from our four minute showers and thirty-five minute 'fast' washes, drain away where it serves no useful purpose.
Furthermore, since when was exposure to some forms of dirt and grime and germs, NOT a good thing? That is after all, how the human race came to form any sort of immunity to bugs and illnesses...through continued, measured exposure to the 'germs' with which we share our environment.
Four minute showers my foot...as Mum used to say. I can't wash my hair and pomade myself in four minutes worth of water. I'd rather share the bathwater with my daughter. She first, then me...or maybe hubby and me....nicer still!
It's time to look at the way we go about things and realise that bigger and/or automated is not necessarily better and four minute showers for a family of four or six is not the only solution to the issue of water conservation. That's 16-24 minutes of constant water useage, down the drain, literally. A similar amount of water, used to fill the bathtub, then recycled on to the garden, makes a lot more sense. We each fill a large watering can from the tub at the end of our bath, and either water the pot plants or use it to bath the dog when he needs it.
Let's get clever about the way we use our water and cleanse ourselves and our belongings.
Sharing and recycling bathwater makes sense. Really it does.