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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • The Green Space: Add some air to your hot shower and save water

  • Fresh water resources have become a hot commodity in the United States.
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  • Fresh water resources have become a hot commodity in the United States. As a matter of fact, I remember well a college friend from Colorado who went to law school to become a water rights attorney because the ranch that had been in her family for four generations was in constant threat of losing the main water source from landowners upstream.
    We are now hearing quite a bit about issues on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers concerning what should be done upstream to appease waterways, landowners, commerce, or agriculture, downstream.
    The Colorado River, which begins its journey in the state for which its named, once made its travel all the way through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, and through Mexico before it reached the ocean. Now, so much water is diverted in the thirsty United States that it doesn't even reach Mexico any longer. The river once kept Mexican rancheros thriving, and small porpoises swimming in brackish estuaries in the mouth of delta. Even jaguars stalked through the marshes and river channels; what once teemed with life is now a barren deserts. The river is gone and only a dry river bed howls through the sands. The rancheros are gone too, left behind are broken down houses and cattle carcasses with leather draped over skeletons in the desolate wastelands. The river dried up in 1983; that is when one more subdivision was built on the United States side, that pulled just enough water out of the Colorado so that it would no longer reach our southern neighbors, the wildlife who lived there, or the ocean.
    Fresh water is not just a problem in the United States – in fact, Americans may be the least effected by lack of fresh water, as bad as it seems to us.
    According to Tyler Falk, Smart Planet, "Currently, all Australian states have under water restrictions or permanent water efficiency measures. And the cost of water use is going up for residents."
    So, it's not surprising that a New Zealand-based company came up with a design for a low-flow shower head. While there are many designs for a low-flow shower head, this one is quite unique. It actually pulls air in to mix with the water. This translates into 50 percent less water usage than a traditional shower head without feeling like you are making a sacrifice for saving water.
    Felton, the manufacturer, collaborated with The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization – Australia's national science agency – to develop the "Oxijet" nozzle, or "Air Shower".
    "Traditional flow restrictors reduce flow and pressure, whereas Oxijet uses the flow energy to draw air into the water stream, making the water droplets hollow," said Jie Wu, a fluids specialist at CSIRO. "This expands the volume of the shower stream, meaning you can save the same amount of water, while still enjoying your shower."
    Page 2 of 2 - Falk further reported that Australian hotel Novotel Northbeach was the first to use the shower nozzles on a large scale. Their expectation was to see big savings without sacrificing quality by making the switch.
    I could not find a distributor for the Oxijet by Felton in the United States, but I will keep a look out for it and let you know when I find them. This sounds like a "must-try" for any tried-and-true Green Space reader. Happy Trails!

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