Cannon Falls Mayor John Althoff says water usage in his community in March and April was up a lot.  The fact residential usage was up did not surprise him because a lot of people were staying home.

However Althoff says commercial usage was also up.  He admits that surprised him.  Comparing usage in March and April of last year to this year he said, "I thought commercial use should go down because the bars and restaurants are closed but to my surprise the commercial usage actually went up and residential went up quite substantially."

The Center for Disease Control and World Health Organization say we should be washing our hands at least once every 30 minutes to an hour.  We should also wash our hands before we eat, put in contacts, apply makeup/skincare, after we sneeze, cough, blow our nose, interact with the public and use the bathroom.

In an effort to conserve water we are supposed to lather up with soap with the faucet off.  Scrub between each finger, Scrub, more scrub, more scrub and then rinse the soap off.  According to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, the average home bathroom faucet flow is 1 to 1.5 GPM (Gallons Per MInute).

That means on average leaving the water running for the full 20 seconds while scrubbing (which admittedly is what I have been doing) wastes about a quarter of a gallon each time you wash your hands.

If your sink was installed before the mid-1990's, or if you use a kitchen sink (both of which typically flow at a rate of 2.2 GPM), the number is probably closer to a half gallon.

Here is how the World Health Organization says we should was our hands:

  • Wet hands with water.
  • Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
  • Rub hands palm to palm.
  • Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa.
  • Palm to palm with fingers interlaced,
  • Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked.
  • Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.
  • Rotational rubbing backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
  • Rinse hands with water.
  • Dry thoroughly with a single use towel.
  • Use towel to turn off faucet.

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