After two months of more people working from home to help contain the spread of COVID-19, SA Water’s data crunch has revealed weekday sleep-ins are the new norm across Adelaide.
SA Water Senior Manager Media Relations Joshua Zugajev said our Monday to Friday morning cuppas, steamy showers and toilet flushes now peak between 9 and 10am, instead of the typical 7 to 8am window.
“A lot of people working at home feel like the difference between weekdays and weekends has blurred and drinking water consumption patterns reflect this, with the typical weekend consumption pattern now being seen across all seven days,” Joshua said.
“Without a commute, those of us working from home have more time to prepare for the day, easing a weekday morning’s usual rush of showering and washing the breakfast dishes.
“The evening peak has also smoothed, with many able to put a load of laundry on between daytime meetings, shifting typical dishwasher patterns to after lunch, or even getting an earlier start on dinner prep.
“Hand washing only uses a small amount of water and the volume used across Adelaide has remained steady, with a recent decrease in consumption following rainfall and less need to use water in the garden.”
Mr Zugajev said the movement of our used water through the sewerage network had also shifted ‘flush hour’ to a later daily peak.
“That little sleep-in means the inflow of sewage – the grey water from our showers and the flushes that convey our toilet paper, pee and poo – is now peaking at wastewater treatment plants between 10 and 11am,” Joshua said.
“A flush in an inner metropolitan suburb like Prospect takes about an hour to make its way through the network to Bolivar.
“Interestingly, the southern suburbs would seem to have a large number of people currently working from home, with our Aldinga and Christies Beach wastewater treatment plants experiencing higher sustained flows during the daytime than they would otherwise normally see on a weekday.
“We’ve all made great progress stopping the spread of COVID-19 and the need to maintain our vigilance means we will likely have different working arrangements for some time, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes for weekday water consumption patterns to return to normal – if they ever do at all!”
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