Perhaps bathing isn’t always an advantage.
On Tuesday afternoon, members
of the Friends of the Earth Middle East grassroots environmental organization
stood on the corner of Rothschild and Sheinkin streets in Tel Aviv, distributing
free hourglasses so Israelis could easily time their showers – which the group
says should be no longer than four minutes in total. Members of the team handed
out several hundred of the hourglasses – which usually cost NIS 5 – in honor of
International Water Day, established by the UN Conference on Environment and
Development in 1993 and marked on March 22.
“That way we’d save a lot of
water,” said Gidon Bromberg, director of Friends of the Earth Middle East.
“About a third of the water we consume at home is in the shower.”
third, Bromberg noted, is consumed by flushing the toilet.
International Water Day has a different theme. Last year was geared toward
improving water quality, 2009 supported trans-boundary “shared” waters, and 2008
was about water sanitation, according to the official World Water Day 2011
website. This year’s theme: “Water for Cities: Response to the Urban
“[Reducing shower time] is the easiest thing that every
individual can do at really no cost to him- or herself,” said
His group often advocates for water preservation, last week in
the form of Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian children writing songs together
about the Jordan River.
The organization got an excellent reception among
Tel Aviv urbanites, according to Bromberg, who expressed hope that some of them
would heed the call for shorter showers. Group members had individual
conversations with each person before exchanging an hourglass for verbal
commitment to making use of the device at home.
“People understand that
there’s a serious problem, and people want to do something about it,” he said.
“If we empower people to save, they’re going to welcome it. These shower timers
were certainly a big success.”