A new student campaign at a British university is urging people everywhere to “take the piss out of water shortages” by peeing in the shower. You heard right. The practice is pitched as a time-saving tool with a significant environmental payoff – each time you indulge in this guilty pleasure you stand to save up to 10 liters of drinkable water, the amount needed to flush a standard toilet.
The “Go with the Flow” campaign at the University of East Anglia (UAE) is the brainstorm of students, Debs Torr and Chris Dobson. They urge “the university’s 15,000 students to take their first wee of the day while having their morning shower”, according to the BBC.
“We’ve done the maths, and this project stands to have a phenomenal impact. With 15,000 students at UEA, over a year we would save enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool 26 times over. Imagine how big an impact it could have if we could get everyone in East Anglia, or even the UK, to change their morning habits,” Dobson told the BBC.
Purportedly, this is something most of us have done already – though you’ll be hard-pressed to get accurate data when querying friends. Unless you are a university student, and probably only then if you are male. I recall a new-roommate-chat when I dropped my son at his university: four young men assessing their shared bathroom, democratically voting on whether the shower was to be a no-pee zone. Honor prevailed, some ‘fessed they couldn’t resist – so the guys all invested in shower sandals. Years on, I still shake my head. Who knew I was witnessing young stewards of the planet?
“The campaign has been really divisive – people either seem to love it or hate it,” added Dobson. “We’re trying to challenge conventional behavior, to start a debate on a resource that we largely take for granted.” These lads aren’t alone. Since 2009, the Brazilian environmental organization, SOS Atlantic Forest, has advocated peeing in the shower as a great way to save water. You don’t need to speak Portuguese to get the message in their comic video:
And if you piddle around on the internet, you’ll find other unlikely partners to the boys’ college cause. Apparently squatting to pee in the shower is an excellent way for new moms to shape up their pelvic floor, at least according to the blogger at Mommypotamus.
There’s also The Experience Project, an online survey website that lets viewers anonymously share views on all manner of life experiences, including – you guessed it – peeing in the shower; about 500 people have weighed in the subject (link here).
George Costanza from Seinfeld pees in the shower
So, until everyone has a waterless toilet like the Ashpoopie designed by Professor Oded Shoseyov from Jerusalem’s Hebrew University (winner of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), this could be one of the simplest ways to help the planet, now, and on a daily basis.
Image of foot in a shower from Shutterstock