Conserve Water with a Low-flow Shower Head
Nearly 17 percent of residential water disappears down the shower drain, but with a low-flow shower head, you can conserve water and your bank account. By changing this one fixture in your home, you reduce your yearly water use by 2,900 gallons, or 18,50 venti coffees from Starbucks.  That’s a lot of liquid.
First, you need check to see if you already have a low-flow shower head or if you could conserve more water by installing a low-flow shower head. To test, simply grab a bucket and place it in the shower. Turn the shower head on to the average setting you use when showering. Run the water for 20 seconds, making sure to catch all the water. Next you need to measure how many gallons you collected. For easy conversion, use a measuring cup and add up the numbers of cups in the bucket. There are 16 cups in one gallon of water. So once you have your number of cups, divide that number by 16.
Example: 14 cups/16 cups in a gallon = .875 gallons
After you have your gallons calculated, multiply that number by three, which will give you your shower head’s gallons per minute (gpm).
Example: .875 gallons X 3 = 2.625 gpm
How does your number compare to the average shower head? A low-flow shower head conserves more water, using no more than 2 gpm. The average shower flow rate falls near 2.5 gpm at 80 pounds per square inch (psi). So, in the example, we are using more than the standard shower head. We should upgrade.
If you know your shower head predates 1992, you might be surprised by the gpm produced by your shower head. This is because before the government passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, many showerheads had a flow rate as high as 5.5 gpm. The passing of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 limited the standard to 2.5 gpm. 
After figuring your shower flow rate, the next step is to find a low-flow shower head so you can conserve water. WaterSense, a partnership program with the Environmental Protection Agency, grants its seal of approval when shower heads meet sustainable, efficient standards in three categories: flow rate, spray force, and spray coverage. 
These three areas ensure consumers a satisfactory shower; otherwise, people would just take longer showers to account for the lack of quality. More running water doesn’t help conserve water, even if it’s a low-flow shower head.
You can look for the WaterSense logo in stores or search its site directly to find a low-flow shower head: http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/product_search.html?Category=4
After you have your new low-flow shower head installed, remember it’s not just the fixture’s job to save water. You can also do your part. The average family soaps, lathers and splashes away 40 gallons per day. Reduce your gallons per day with these additional helpful tips for saving water in the shower:
Author: Brenna Malmberg