Necessity is the mother of invention. This is often the case in terms of environmental initiatives. When a natural resource becomes scarce, initiatives and innovations are developed to use these resources more efficiently.
In Australia, as with a number of other countries around the world, water has recently been in short supply due to lengthy droughts coupled with ever increasing water consumption by industry and households. As a result, emergency water supply solutions have been built, leading to an increase in water costs. The average price has increased from $2.10 per kilolitre in 09-10 to $2.44 per kilolitre in 10-11(Australian Bureau of Statistics).
These factors lead to the need to innovate to create sustainable solutions, particularly for households who are feeling the pinch from the rising cost of living more broadly.
The air shower or ‘Oxijet‘ was first developed by the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) of Australia in collaboration with the New Zealand company Felton in 2006. The original prototype leading to reductions of 1/3 of water use, the product has since been refined and now saves 50% of water. With the average household water use at approximately 200,000 litres per year, a third of this use from showers (CSIRO, 2006), there are savings to be made.
Traditional low-flow shower nozzles aim to do the same thing, but restrict flow and pressure, reducing the volume of the water stream, leading to a less satisfying experience. Researchers discovered that by adding an aeration insert, which can be inserted into existing showerheads, you can fill droplets with air, creating the illusion of a full flow shower without the water use.
The device expands the volume of the shower stream, by jetting the water through four ting nozzles and sucking air into the stem of the shower rose. For an explanation of the device by Dr Jie Wu, Fluids specialist at CSIRO, check out the You Tube clip.
There are other air shower devices on the market but the unique technology behind this innovation allows it to be fitted to most existing showerheads, making it accessible for many consumers. The Oxijet device has been accredited by Watermark and the Water Efficiency Labelling Standards Scheme and is available for purchase now.