What if high-pressure showers were the trick to saving water?

What if high-pressure showers were the trick to saving water?

We often hear that low pressure showers are the most environmentally friendly. But a recent English study suggests the opposite… The experience of these researchers has in fact demonstrated that the higher the water pressure, the shorter the showers and therefore less energy-intensive.

Does increasing shower pressure really reduce water consumption? In any case, this is what this study carried out by a research team from the University of Surrey, in England, suggests. The team installed sensors in 290 showers on the University of Surrey campus, allowing them to collect data relating to the duration of more than 86,000 individual showers. In this research, the average duration of a shower was estimated at 6.7 minutes. Based on the duration of each shower, the team was able to calculate the amount of water needed for each use. The results reveal that high-pressure showers are associated with lower water consumption.

Overall, the team found that water consumption was reduced by up to 60% with high pressure. A surprising conclusion, as opting for a low-pressure shower head is often presented as a more ecological solution. One of the explanations put forward by researchers is “that people don’t just stop showering after a certain amount of time, but rather stop showering when they have gained a particular experience“In other words, the satisfaction of having taken a shower with high pressure could encourage you to spend less time under the jet.

But be careful not to confuse pressure with flow rate: if the first refers to the force with which the water is projected, the second refers to the quantity of water consumed during a shower. However, as co-author of the study Ian Walker explains to The Guardian newspaper, “low-flow showers provide less water than high-flow showers, while high-pressure showers result in less consumption because they are stopped sooner than low-pressure showers“.

Timing yourself can help you save money!

The researchers also highlight the benefit of setting up a timing system, in order to limit the duration of showers. “A smart timer reduced water consumption by up to 53% with average water pressures“, note the latter. The authors of the work in fact noted that the length of showers tended to increase over the weeks, regardless of the pressure. “Smart timers, however, were able to stabilize or reduce consumption over time, suggesting an anchoring effect“, notes the study.

The study authors, however, point out that additional research is needed to determine more precisely why increasing shower pressure would reduce participants’ water consumption. Also note that the conclusions of these researchers, available in pre-publication, have not yet been validated by their peers. The results should therefore (at least for the moment) be interpreted with caution.