For an average middle-class household in South Africa (LSM7-10), a 10-min shower costs almost R20 if you have a ‘standard’ 15 litre/min showerhead! This is about R1.95/min. By changing to a low-flow showerhead and reducing shower time to 6 minutes, you can dramatically reduce this to just over R6 per shower (or R1.04/min).
In either case, it appears that the days of ‘cheap’ showers are numbered, and we can all do with being more aware of just how much water & electricity we use in the shower or bath.
Conventional wisdom has it that showering uses less water than running a bath. However, a typical bath uses 90 litres of water, so if you shower for longer than 6 minutes with a ‘standard’ showerhead, you will actually use more water than if you had a bath… With an average shower time internationally of 8 minutes, a shallow bath might actually be better for your pocket and the environment!
Of course, even better than a shallow bath is to switch to a low flow showerhead and have shorter showers… City of Cape Town recommends showering for less than 2 minutes, and switching to low-flow showerheads (less than 10 litres/min) is compulsory according to City of Cape Town bylaws.
The graphs below show more detailed information on water & energy use and cost per shower for normal & low-flow showerheads, and compared to a ‘standard’ 90 litre bath.