Conservation Nuts, Inc., Waterloo, Iowa. Special to The Spoof.
In the midst of massive storms throughout much of the country, talking about drought may be a bit out of place. But snowstorms to the contrary, climate warming presents a potential water shortage in nearly all of the United States. We can't rely on government to solve this problem, because government-sponsored projects will produce more pork than water. Furthermore, they do almost nothing immediately to conserve that vital resource. The immediate solution is to curtail water usage in ways no one has yet suggested. Here are six possibilities:
1. FEWER, NOT SHORTER, SHOWERS. Octogenarians can still remember when the Saturday night bath was all that was needed to be clean and presentable. Now the standard is a daily shower. That's a flagrant misuse of our limited water supply. Even shorter showers urged by conservationists still waste water. Suggestion: Apply to shower frequency the odd/even system Los Angeles has used for lawn watering.
Residences with odd-numbered addresses will shower on the first and third Saturdays each month, while even-numbered addresses shower on the second and fourth. Not only will that save water, but it will be a boon to the economy. Deodorant companies will make windfall profits as they develop new aromas. Face masks will be in greater demand, prompting up-scale designer fashions. Sociologists and cultural anthropologists will mine the data relating shower frequency to divorce. Another benefit may be that you know friends or relatives are near before you see them.
2. KEEP A BUCKET IN THE SHOWER. Unless you have great insulation around your pipes or your water heater is close to the bathroom, the first two gallons that come from the shower head are too cold to stand in. Instead of sending that water down the drain, direct it into a bucket that you keep in the shower. Dump that water into a planter bed. If you have one of the early low-flush toilets that sometimes require a double flush to do what one flush should have done, use the bucket water to assist the flushing process.
3. ALTER YOUR TOOTHBRUSHING ROUTINE. The government has urged us to turn off the tap while brushing teeth. Better yet, use no water while brushing. Or give up brushing completely, and limit dental hygiene to flossing, the rubber tip on the toothbrush, or those new-fangled little brushes dentists are giving away that slide between the teeth. The amount of water saved may not fill a reservoir, but it will make you feel that you have done your bit.
4. ELIMINATE INDOOR PLANTS. Like changing your toothbrushing routine, this isn't likely to save much water, but it will make you feel better about watering your roses and azaleas. You gave up a gloxinia and saved a rose. The greatest benefit, however, comes from knowing that you would have killed the plant anyway through neglect, but you can feel that you got rid of it for a more legitimate reason.
5. THE BACKYARD ICE RINK. Forget the native plants as lawn substitutes, because they still take some water. Ignore those pool companies that claim a pool takes less water than an equal area of lawn. Instead, consider an ice rink. Two inches of water - about as much as you pour on the grass in a two-week period - will be enough to create a frozen pond that will provide enjoyment all year. You may have the next Michelle Kwan. And solar panel telemarketers will have a new sales pitch about how they can provide the power to freeze the water.
6. DON'T FLUSH FOR EVERYTHING. It's difficult to remain tactful while discussing this subject, but let's try. It was the government official who mentioned this conservation approach, so it must be all right to discuss it. Most of us will distinguish between what must be flushed and what can sit a while. Some zealots, however, will wait too long, creating a bit of discomfort within the family. Others will be chided for too frequent flushing. We would suggest the installation of a urinal, except for the sneers that it would bring forth. So, follow this rule: "If it's yellow let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down."
Now, if we do all of this, don't expect the water experts to cheer. Instead, it will only encourage continued sprawl - both out and upward - and a decade from now we will be as bad off as we are now.