Ask Laskas: “My Husband Wastes Water!”

Now it's your turn to help solve our readers' problems!

from Reader's Digest | September 2013
Laskas SeptemberIstvan Banyai for Reader’s Digest

My husband leaves the water running the entire time he shaves, brushes his teeth, and does the dishes. It drives me crazy seeing water being wasted like that! I’ve tried asking him to stop, but that gets me nowhere. Please help!

- Eco-friendly Emma

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  • Your Comments

    • Edda Anderson

      Smack some sense into him by showing him the water bill: if hurting the environment doesn’t get his attention, the price will.

    • rosethornne

      Leave the room.
      Also, get some giant tweezers for that plank in your eye.

    • John

      Sounds like a difference between ‘good’ and ‘best’. Water can be wasted in many ways–washing loads of dishes or laundry that could have been avoided, shorter showers, less water in the tub, xeriscaping your yard, fewer house plants, etc. It is good to conserve water but it is better to preserve relationships. Don’t confuse life’s priorities!

    • mooncreek

      My honey does the exact same thing, and he leaves lights on too. Before I say anything to him, I ask myself “what is more important?” Him or a gallon of water, or him and an additional ten dollars on the light bill. He wins, and I smile and walk away.

    • Liberallez

      You say you’ve “asked” him to stop, but I wonder if, perhaps, your relationship is such that you are “constantly” pressuring him to conform to your standards of behavior.
      If so, this may be simply a small act of rebellion against what he sees as your “oppressive” treatment of him.
      Maybe it’s time to discuss your relationship openly with your husband before you find yourself in divorce court.

    • Jayne

      He does the dishes? He shaves? He is a keeper!

    • LyndaC

      First try catching the wasted water in a gallon tub placed under the faucet to show him what he’s wasting and the cost per gallon calculated out for a year. If that doesn’t work, install auto on/off faucets throughout the house. You can set the timer and this will auto save the water, then thank him for lending a helping hand.

      • Jeannine Micucci

        As soon as I would hear the water running in the bathroom, I would go in the basement shutoff the main valve and leave a note. I love you too much to let you throw your money down the drain.

    • Missing Him

      I used to have the same problem but my husband died 2 years ago from cancer. I would give anything to still have that problem. Try to think of it not as water wasted, but keeping the pipes flowing easily. Plumbers are expensive!

    • Harold T Gibbons

      Take an empty gallon container, such as a water or milk jug. With a watch, time exactly how long it takes to fill it in your husband’s water tap. Then when your husband doesn’t notice it, time how long he leaves the water running. This will tell you how many gallons he wastes. That may impress him, but back it up by checking your water bill to see how much a gallon costs. If you can’t figure it out call your water company and ask them.

    • SamG

      Changing behavior often requires motivation and your husband doesn’t value the saved water enough to change his. Consider providing him with a personal incentive beyond making you less crazy. Put next to the sink a jar of quarters and/or chocolate kisses and/or coupons for real kisses or whatever small token you think might motivate him. Tell him that he can withdraw a reward (1 or 2 depending on what you put in the jar) every time he turns off the water when brushing or shaving or washing the dishes. At the end of a month, see if either the accumulation of rewards, or the heightened consciousness of the value process you’ve now imposed, or the reprogramming of his behavior to naturally turn off the water, may have done the trick. Either way, you both might find this a fun way to try to get him on your eco-friendly team.