Recently I saw on television a new commercial from the Utah governor’s office. The ad shows someone turning on the water facet, adding soap to his hands and then proceeding to wash them for the length of the commercial while the narrator stresses the importance of all Utahns washing their hands regularly and for 20 seconds to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This is a vital message to stress to all Utah citizens at this time when “COVID fatigue” may have caused us to become complacent in this important preventative practice.
However, it really bothers me that the actor in this commercial leaves the water running. I began to question how much additional water we are using in this state. Utah, being one of the driest states in the nation, can ill afford to send any additional clean water down the drain. It is very simple to wet one’s hands, turn off the water, spend 20 seconds scrubbing, turn the water back on, and rinse off hands and water tap handles.
So I did a little experiment, which although not scientifically controlled, was very revealing. I allowed my tap water to run into a pitcher for the 20 seconds I scrubbed my hands and gathered 2 liters of water — multiply that by the 10 times per day I wash my hands and the 10 times a day every other person in the state washes his hands, and that is a lot of clean tap water going to waste!
We have enough problems right now that are beyond our control. We all can do this one little thing to save money, our state and our planet. So I hope Gov. Herbert’s office re-tapes the “hand-washing” commercial to save Utah’s water.