Shorter Showers to Save the World

This visualization was inspired by the monthly Storytelling with Data Challenge. The April 2021 challenge was to ask a question and then use data to find an answer. Though I can get subsumed by a particular topic and explore all the rabbit holes, I found the task to come up with a question a difficult one. I am working to find new and engaging ways to communicate easy, bite-sized behavior changes that can move us toward a more sustainable global future, so I capitalized on those ideas and started operationalizing water savings.

In going into the weeds on saving water via shorter showers (a very actionable, individual-level behavior change), I learned so much about water rates, flow caps, domains of water use, costs of electricity to heat water, and showering practices of men and women (not to mention water use across the globe). I’d love to expand this work in two ways: 1) to have a more nuanced understanding of all the factors that reducing shower water usage can impact and 2) to better understand what happens to the water cycle when we, in the U.S., use less water (i.e., who gains?).