If you’re like me, a night away at a hotel means one thing: a long, hot shower. It’s not that I want to deliberately drain a Holiday Inn’s water heater of its supply, it’s just that it’s rare, when you live in an urban area and pay out the nose for your own water, to want to spend time cleaning yourself in it. And there’s the added benefit, at hotels, of not being stared at awkwardly by a group of cats who don’t understand the concept of bathroom doors, or why you would willingly subject yourself to water.
But, the luxury of the long, hot hotel shower may be yet another thing lost to the prying eye of Uncle Sam. Thanks to a new proposal from the EPA, a couple of fascinated felines may be the least of your worries. In an effort to get Americans to adjust their shower behavior, the government wants to cut you off, and in service of that goal, they’ll be watching you shower.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants hotels to monitor how much time its guests spend in the shower.
The agency is spending $15,000 to create a wireless system that will track how much water a hotel guest uses to get them to “modify their behavior.”
“Hotels consume a significant amount of water in the U.S. and around the world,” an EPA grant to the University of Tulsa reads. “Most hotels do not monitor individual guest water usage and as a result, millions of gallons of potable water are wasted every year by hotel guests.”
“The proposed work aims to develop a novel low cost wireless device for monitoring water use from hotel guest room showers,” it said. “This device will be designed to fit most new and existing hotel shower fixtures and will wirelessly transmit hotel guest water usage data to a central hotel accounting system.”
The key phrase here is “EPA grant to the University of Tulsa,” which, of course, means that you, the person who just wants to take a hot shower in peace, will be paying for someone to come up with a way to put an end to your ability to take a hot shower in peace. Congratulations! Thankfully, it’s only a $15,000 grant. If a project like this had been spearheaded by the NIH, for example, like the famous “Origami Condom” concept, it could cost in the millions (though even origami condoms were too absurd for the NIH). As it stands, you’re only paying five figures for the government to modify your shower behavior, though I suspect you’ll make that up in the “room fee” you’ll now pay when you overuse.
There are, of course, ways to address the topic of water conservation that don’t immediately involve “behavior modification” but I suppose that’s not the point, is it?