The Texas Trickle Journal: One Man’s Journey to Conserve Water
Eat healthier. Exercise more. Strengthen relationships. It’s easy to talk about changing our habits to make improvements in our lives, but it’s another thing entirely to actually make those changes. It’s not impossible, but like most things, it takes a lot of effort and willpower to make that change a permanent habit. This also applies to changing our water usage habits.
To practice what we preach, I decided to take on the Texas Trickle challenge when brushing my teeth. This means, instead of leaving the water on full blast while brushing (or doing most anything in the bathroom sink), I use a tiny trickle of water to get the job done. After taking on this challenge, I can tell you this sounds a lot easier to put it into practice than it actually is, as you can read in my journal below.
Journal Tracking Days
Journal Day 1:
Here we go. It feels weird to go from using the amount of water I’m used to using to a small trickle. The comparison I would make is this: it feels like driving 25mph in a 55-mph zone. It just feels “wrong” at first, despite knowing the change I’m making is the right and conservative thing to do. It feels like I’m going too slow.
Journal Day 2:
I noticed that if I’m in a hurry, the desire is very strong to keep the tap fully open. The rushed feeling can override the need to be responsible with my water usage. But if I think about it rationally, how much time would I really save by opening the faucet like it’s Niagara Falls in a monsoon? What might I do with those extra seconds I’d accumulate every month? Nothing, that’s what.
Compare that to how much water I’d save per month or per year. The water savings is significant.
Journal Day 3:
I find I spend a seemingly inordinate number of seconds finding just the right setting on my sink to give me the optimum Texas Trickle. It can be frustrating, but after some practice I can quickly find the right position on the tap to save water. It’s like doing anything physical, such as a sport or a chore: the more you practice, the better you become at doing it. I’m impressed with my small accomplishment.
Journal Day 4:
Old habits can be hard to break. Today I didn’t use the Texas Trickle. I was in a hurry to get my seven-year-old boy to school, so I opened the tap all the way. I finished quickly and rushed off so he’d get to his first class on time. It bothered me a little in the car. Then after a spell it bothered me a little more. It felt like I needlessly cheated on a diet or something. Guilt: It’s Nature’s teacher.
Journal Day 5:
It’s becoming more routine and less weird to use such a small (but perfectly adequate) amount of water while using my toothbrush. I think the satisfaction of my altruism is starting to pay off. I feel like a responsible Texan. Should I also ration my toothpaste? Is there any environmental conservatism to be found there? Meh, probably not much.
Although, I did start to take notice of how long I shower. If the Texas Trickle can save water in a bathroom sink, taking the recommended 5-minute shower should save even more. The possibilities to save water are nigh endless!
Journal Day 6:
After brushing my teeth using the Texas Trickle, it would feel weird now to not do it. Looking back on my many years of brushing my own teeth, there’s a certain guilt I feel for needlessly wasting so much water. If only there was a calculator that could tell me my lifetime impact. (There is!)
Journal Day 7:
Now that I’ve become the Zen master of the Texas Trickle, I decided to try and get my kids to do it too. Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew here. Wish me luck. We’re still working on tying shoes with my boy. Regulating water usage may be asking a bit much at this stage, but I can still demonstrate good habits.
Journal Day 9:
Well as it turns out, it’s easier than I thought to get kids in good habits. My 12-year-old daughter was already turning off the water completely while brushing her teeth. Good for her. My boy is going to take a little more effort. I’m sure that explaining to him the benefits of conservative water usage in a drought-stricken area like Texas will surely impact his sense of community and shared responsibility. Or I may just threaten to withhold dessert; whichever is easiest.
Journal Day 12:
There’s something interesting about trying to save water. I’ve saved water when brushing my teeth. I’ve saved water by taking shorter showers. I’ve used an app to help save water when watering my lawn. It’s fun to see what you can save and where. It’s addictive.
It’s addictive in the way that lots of middle-aged men compulsively collect Hummel figurines. It starts with receiving one as a Christmas gift from your mother-in-law. But before you know it, you’ve a got a whole curio cabinet full of them. I’m talking about “Apple Tree Boy and Apple Tree Girl” in almost pristine condition, and "Forever Friends” that I picked up for a song, and not to mention my rare “Gone A-Wandering” piece! It took me forever to find that last one. I’m sure you guys can relate. Lots of grown men collect these things. It’s not just me. And it’s not weird … right?
Journal Day 14:
I feel like my kids and I have pretty much settled into a good, long-lasting habit now. The bottom line is, it’s certainly possible, even probable, that we can change our water usage habits. Not only is it possible, but it’s the right thing to do to conserve our most precious of natural resources. If I can do it, I promise you can do it.
I like being responsible. It feels good. It makes up for the other areas in my life where I’ve been told I’m irresponsible. I personally don’t agree that spending an average of $800 a month on porcelain figurines is “irresponsible” … but whatever.
If you’re interested in conserving the water you use – and we know you are - we recommend the following additional resources found on this page: https://takecareoftexas.org/conservation-tips/conserve-our-water. You should also check out our Water Tracker to see how much water you can save by implementing the Texas Trickle!