The tracks are timed to keep your showers under five minutes.
Most Americans could stand to use less water, whether they live in the drought-stricken West or not. Taking shorter showers is one easy way to do that. According to a 2014 Indiana University study, cutting shower time down to 5 minutes (from the average 8.2 minutes) would reduce your household’s indoor water use by about 8 percent. Now the digital radio service Pandora is helping people make this change with a playlist that doubles as a shower timer.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California recently partnered with Pandora to curate a “Water Lover’s Station” featuring more than 100 rain- and water-themed tracks, from Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” and TLC’s “Waterfalls” to Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” (They also made a Spanish-language water-saving playlist for Univision’s Uforia streaming music platform.) Each track is under five minutes long, so simply tune in, take advantage of your bathroom acoustics, and step out of the shower before the song ends.
But keep in mind that taking shorter showers doesn’t let you off the hook entirely. According to the same 2014 study, Americans tend to think curtailment actions—such as reducing toilet flushes and turning the faucet off while brushing your teeth—are the best ways to conserve water. But experts say efficiency improvements, such as using Energy Star appliances, are actually more effective. For example, installing low-flush toilets and washing your clothes in a water-efficient machine will cut your indoor water use by 19 and 17 percent, respectively. The problem is that people are put off by the costs of installation, even though these upgrades will save more money in the long run.
By all means, jam out to your pre-timed Pandora shower playlist. But remember that it’s just one component of a water conservation plan.