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Science. Communication. Community.

Why I hate it when my husband does the dishes

If Dear Abby were still alive – the sassy columnist whose NYT obit was itself a work of art – I might finally have a question for her: How do I get my husband to stop using a fire-hose to wash dishes?

by Rebecca Widiss

Image from Stilfehler, Wikimedia Commons

It all goes here. Image from Stilfehler, Wikimedia Commons

Most of the time, my husband Raj and I see eye to eye about conservation. He brought a Prius into our marriage. He moons over the Nest Learning Thermostat. And he’s hot to get solar panels, now that we own a roof.

But I cringe each time he does the dishes. (The irony!) He leaves the faucet on full throttle as he diligently scrubs every surface and crevice, multiple times.

When we squabble about this, Raj points me to NYC’s Food Protection Course, which admonishes would-be restaurant workers to “sing Happy Birthday two times“ while washing your hands – and generally encourages the liberal use of water.

On Tuesday – which just so happened to be Protect Your Groundwater Day – I sat down to see if Google and I could strike back. To celebrate PYG Day, the USGS had gathered several nifty links onto one page. The most promising invited me to get an overview of groundwater availability in the United States. Flipping eagerly to page 23 of the attached report, I found that Maryland sits squarely in a swath of states colored blue to signify that they have “little or no water deficiency” for groundwater recharge and use. The next page shows national estimates of mean annual ground-water recharge. Maryland again appears to have healthy blue hues, netting 5-15 inches per year. Still, regional studies are needed, the report admonishes, to truly get a handle on water storage, discharge and recharge.

Undeterred, I pressed on to Maryland’s website. Perusing a 2008 task force report, I learned that, just as in the West, jurisdictions have been known to bicker over groundwater supplies and seek access to water underlying state-owned lands. The report’s bottom line, however, was less than stirring: “Maryland does not have an accurate picture of the long-term viability of the State’s water resources.”

In the end, I think I’m going to have to get Raj with the cool factor. Does anyone know of a fun water-conservation gadget?


3 comments on “Why I hate it when my husband does the dishes

  1. David D. LaCroix
    September 13, 2013

    I think about this kind of stuff, too. Biggest one: hot water latency! You have to run the shower or the sink long enough that the intervening plumbing gets to the point where it’s warm enough that it no longer cools what the water heater is pumping out! Very wasteful.

    • figureoneblog
      September 15, 2013

      True! One of the tip sheets I ran across suggested saving that water for your plants. I kind of like the sound of a wastewater garden…

      • David D. LaCroix
        September 16, 2013

        I guess. Not sure we can live with buckets at every sink and tub for that! 🙂

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