Archive for the ‘Shasta Phillips’ Category

Fix a Leak Weekby Shasta Phillips

Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s enough water to fill 100 million swimming pools. It’s enough to submerge Marin County under 6 feet of water. It is enough water to give 100 billion poodles a much-needed bath. The point is, it is a lot of water.

I know what you’re thinking: “Enough with the fancy statistics, Shasta. Tell me what I can do to help stop leaks!” Well, MMWD has provided a handy Do-It-Yourself Survey to help you find leaks on your property. Following the simple step-by-step instructions in the guide may help you discover leaks that are wasting not only our precious resource, but also your hard-earned dollars.

“Do-it-yourself? No thanks!” Okay, okay. For those of you who would like help, invite one of our well-mannered conservation experts to your property to help check for leaks and identify other ways to reduce your water use. Learn more on our website, then call 415-945-1523 to schedule your free appointment.

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by Shasta Phillips

I spent many boyhood hours complaining about having to go to school. My grievances mostly revolved around feeling what we were taught had no practical application in the real world. I’d argue that knowing the major export of Montana would not help me land a job, that making a battery out of a potato was useless if it couldn’t power my Walkman, and that learning arithmetic had become obsolete with the invention of the calculator wristwatch (because, of course, they would never go out of style).

Even though I often resisted school as a child, returning to the classroom now as a representative of MMWD and teaching water conservation principles is one of the highlights of my job. The turnaround is quite dramatic. Also, when I go to schools now, I am far less likely to be shoved into my own locker.

While my understanding of education has expanded, I still keep in mind the grievances of my school days. I try to make a connection between the subject and the students, explaining why it’s important and how it personally relates to them. I find this is easily done with our “Do-It-Yourself Water Conservation Kit,” where students are taught how to check and improve their water efficiency at home. We then follow up to provide free showerheads and faucet aerators to replace wasteful ones.

This connection really hit home for me during one of these follow-up visits to a Corte Madera school. I asked the class to share some stories and results from their home surveys. After many of the typical stories, one beaming fourth-grade student explained how she had found a severe toilet leak. Not only that, but when her family’s plumber had trouble finding the water meter, she was able to assist by showing him its location. Her fellow students were riveted, and they gasped at the realization that an adult professional required the aid of one of their own to fix a serious problem.

These hands-on activities are designed to empower our students and to show they can make a positive impact on the world. Seeing these effects in action renews my commitment to education and helps make up for what I missed in my boyhood schooldays. To learn more about MMWD’s FREE water education programs for schools, just visit our website.

And since I know you’re wondering, the major export of Montana is bulk wheat.

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by Shasta Phillips

When MMWD’s Water Conservation Department is deciding which showerhead to give out during our Conservation Assistance Program (CAP) surveys, occasionally I am asked to take home a few different high-efficiency showerheads for some real-world testing. How am I qualified to test these showerheads? For those of you who don’t follow competitive showering, here are some of my credentials:

  • Considered by many as a child prodigy of showering, I took my first shower at the age of one.
  • At age three, while many kids my age were splashing around in the bath with rubber duckies, I was showering at an 8th grade level. 
  • In 2007, I set the North American record for most efficient shower.   

Shower Testing Factors

Shower force, contrary to what the name implies, has nothing to do with Star Wars. It is, however, the speed at which the shower water contacts the showerer. One way to test shower force is to visually measure the straightness of the water stream. There’s an old saying in the biz regarding shower force: the straighter the stream, makes the shower supreme. (Okay, I actually just made that up, but maybe it will catch on.) 

Spray coverage is also very important. Spray coverage is the amount of measurable area wetted by the shower. Many people believe that the spray coverage is weaker here on the West Coast (due to the East Coast coverage bias), but fortunately this is untrue.

Shower force and shower coverage combine to give you another factor: perceived water volume. This is a measure of how well the showerhead can trick you into thinking you are standing under a Hawaiian waterfall.  

Manufacturers of efficient showerheads continue to amaze me with their ability to do more with less. New technologies such as infusing the shower water with air, amplifying the speed of the water, and controlling the size of the water droplets allow these new showerheads to give you great force, coverage and perceived water volume, all while saving you water and money. 

Savings Potential

Heating water is a very energy-intensive process. Reducing the water used in the shower will save you money on both your water bill and your energy bill. If an average family of four replaces their old showerhead with an efficient one, they can realize savings of up to $250 dollars annually on utility bills. That’s enough to buy half an iPhone!

What About Your Showerhead?

Unsure as to whether your showerheads are efficient or not? Well, through our Conservation Assistance Program, one of MMWD’s conservation specialists will test your showerheads and, if found to be inefficient, give you efficient models free of charge. Yes, free! Don’t even try to calculate the return on investment on that deal because I’m pretty sure it will involve dividing by zero. Also, while at your property, we can evaluate your irrigation, check for leaks, and give advice on other ways to save water and money. If you’re interested in having a free water-use evaluation at your home or business, please contact the Water Conservation Department at (415) 945-1523. 

If you’re interested in buying an efficient showerhead on your own, here is a website detailing some extensive efficient showerhead testing. Note: I am providing this link as a courtesy and do not ensure the accuracy of any claims made by said website (I always wanted to go to law school). 

And remember, with hard work and dedication you, too, can join the ranks of the showering elite.

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