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Waste Not: Testing dishwashing methods for biggest water waste

The world is facing a water crisis ... but try to get Americans concerned.

The world we live in faces an imminent water crisis, with countries including China and India, parts of Central and Eastern Europe and the majority of Africa and the Middle East experiencing significant water shortage. (I lost count of how many times I had to wash my body out of a communal basin using a pitcher and a tea kettle when visiting my grandmother in rural Crimea (Ukraine), and how often I "showered" under string-thin water pressure when traveling to Israel.)

And yet Americans continue to waste water by not minding their leaky faucets, leaving their sprinklers on longer than necessary, and changing their pool water with every fallen bug.

As pointed out in the World Water Vision Report, "[The water] crisis is not about having too little water to satisfy our needs. It is a crisis of managing water so badly that billions of people -- and the environment -- suffer badly."

And no, I'm not blaming the United States for being the culprit behind the global concern, even though we are the biggest water consumers, averaging 575 liters (152 gallons) per person per day, according to the UNDP Human Development Report published in 2006.

Australia (493 liters/130 gallons), Italy (386 liters/102 gallons), Japan (374 liters/99 gallons) and Mexico (366 liters/97 gallons) contribute plenty to the water deficit. All I'm saying is that we often take our water availability for granted, flushing this scarce resource and our hard-earned money that pays for it down the drain.

With no penchant for waste, I try to conserve water throughout the day, and since dishwashing is a major contributor to water waste, I set out to experiment how much water is consumed using three dishwashing methods: washing in basins filled with soapy water, doing dishes by hand with running water and using a dishwasher.

Watch the experiment below. The results are startling!

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