The Washington Surburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has suggested that consumers cut their water usage to 40 gallons per day, per person. That won't be easy. Many people us that much water and more in the first hour of every morning. For example:

a tub-bath uses 25-30 gallons.

the average 10-minute shower, 60 gallons.

one flush on a conventional toilet, 5-7 gallons.

an average automatic dishwasher cycle, 25 gallons.

That's as much 122 gallons, and the figure does not include shaving, tooth-brushing, running the garbage grinder or rinsing the breakfast dishes before putting them into the dishwasher.

With the help of some new devices, the WSSC says, consumption can be cut in half. They suggest:

a 5-minute shower using a flow-control shower head set a 3-gallons per minute. Rinse, turn the water off while soaping-up and then on again for quick-rinse.

one flush on a new water saving toilet, 3.5 gallons. The ultimate water saving practice with present toilets is flushing for solid waste only.

one cycle on a new water-saving dishwasher, a short cycle on an old one, or dishwashing by hand, 15 gallons.

The "water-off-while-soaping up" theory works equally well outside the shower for tooth-brushing, shaving, hand-washing, etc. Don't rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, just wipe them with used paper napkins from breakfast. Carry any garbage out with the trash, don't use the grinder at all.

Following what most people would consider very conservative water practices, those procedures still require many gallons. And there's the rest of th day to go. However, the WSSC says that flushing and bathing account for about 70 per cent of in-house water use, suggesting that morning cut-backs will go a long way toward conserving water and lowering the water bill.