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Is the Five Minute Shower an Urban Myth? (2010)

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This report by ech2o analyses data on shower use at home, at school and in the office. The data was collected between 2008 and 2009 across the whole range of different cultures and economic classes found in the UK today. About 85% of the respondents lived in London, with the rest from various other parts of England and Wales. This data about showers were taken from a survey of 649 people across 167 households. The survey participants showered on average 13 minutes. 64 % showered once a day while 13.5% took a bath or shower twice a day.

How do we shower in the UK?

Over the past five years working with a range of stakeholders about how they use water, ech2o began to realise that the UK average five minute shower, (on which so much policy and calculated water use has been based) is, in fact, an urban myth. As this realisation was based on anecdotal evidence, from August 2008 to December 2009, ech2o collected data about how people use water at home, at school and in the office. We worked with school pupils to collect data about themselves and their families, and also questioned housing association tenants, students, design professionals and members of the general public. The data was collected across the whole range of different cultures and economic classes found in the UK today. However, our questionnaire only asked respondents to identify themselves by gender and age. About 85% of the respondents live in London, with the rest from various other parts of England and Wales.

This short report analyses the data we have collected about shower use. The respondents in our survey have, on average, a thirteen minute shower. We are continuing to collect and analyse data about how people shower and will continue to make the results freely available.