Energy Diet

Due the amount of annual rainfall in Costa Rica, we have a rich water supply. This is clear when you consider that about 80 percent of electricity consumed in the country is hydroelectric. For households, the public water service supply covers an incredible 97 percent of the population, mainly in the metropolitan areas. A total of and 83 percent of this population has access to drinking water. This is the positive side of our water abundance.

However, as we have mentioned, the disposal of wastewater is a major weakness, since almost all (more than 96 percent) will go to the rivers without any treatment.

Concerning water use in homes, the saying goes, “Where there is abundance, there is waste.”

Since our country in theory should not have problems with water supply, people are not aware of the need to conserve it. There have been a variety of media campaigns sponsored by different institutions, such as the National Chamber of Radio (CANARA) and the country’s water and sewer agency (Acueductos y Alcantarillados). Unhappily, their message has not permeated the entire population.

As we collected data to write this blog, we found some interesting information about our “water footprint,” which refers not only to water we use daily for cleaning or consumption, but also water that has been used to produce a product.  For example, to produce 1 liter of milk, it takes 1,000 liters of water.

(Related from National Geographic: What Is Your Water Footprint?)

For our part, the actions we have taken are:

 – Shorten the time in the shower: On work days, this is not a problem because we are in the rush of everyday life. It’s a little harder on the weekend when one wants to relax by taking a hot shower, but we have done everything possible to shorten. Also, almost never use the tub.

 – Close the valve when brushing our teeth or washing dishes: To brush our teeth you must close the tap — we were doing this before starting with the 360° Energy Diet.

– Close the valve when washing dishes: We are doing this more efficiently and using less water now in the process. We have also seen that it is not necessary to fully open the tap; you can take away soap with less pressure!

 – Watering of plants: We do not have a garden, only a few potted plants, but we have them outdoors to take advantage of rain water when possible.

Bad part is that in our condo we only have one single meter for 7 houses, and we split the bill. That’s why we don’t have clear records of our consumption.

Good part is that we know for sure that since 6 weeks ago we have reduced the water bill of 6 of our neighbors!