Steamboat Springs This just in ... 73 percent of adults in Routt County over the age of 37 get up to tinkle between the hours of 2:30 and 5:30 a.m.
That, according to the U.S. Census Bureau ranks Routt in the top 2,000 counties in America in terms of the late-night pee factor.
Divide .37 by the mean home price, multiply times Planck's constant and you realize that many of your neighbors can't afford a pot to whiz in.
Wait, there's more.
Of those 73 percent who stumble out of bed in the wee wee hours, fully 45 percent DO NOT FLUSH!
My breast swells with pride when I think of the many hundreds of gallons of water saved each night by my fellow Yampa Valley-ites who have the sense not to flush when it really isn't necessary.
And so I say to you, "If it's brown, flush it down; if it's yellow, let it mellow."
How we take it for granted. And yet we never stray far from it.
Turn the faucet and it pours forth, fresh and pure.
Twist the other faucet, wait a minute while the precious liquid pours down the drain, and there is warm water for washing our hands.
It wasn't always this way.
Both of my parents spent their early years in households that didn't offer the luxury of running water.
If you wanted a kettle of water, you went out back and pumped it.
My mother recalls that the well at the farm on Lark Lane was rather poor and managed to draw only a meager stream of water out of the volcanic soils beneath the sagebrush and juniper of Central Oregon.
She would pump just enough water for a bath, heat it on the wood stove, then pour it into the tub where it covered the bottom to a depth of one inch.
She would then soap up quickly while the water cooled even more quickly.
Today, I can't even imagine facing the world each morning without a hot shower.
But lately, I've been trying to pay attention and take shorter showers in the interest of conserving water.
Anything to help get us through the drought we're in.
Many of you read in the newspaper last week that the Denver Water Board has advocated brushing only every other tooth, in order to conserve water.
Even more intriguing, they've suggested we consider showering in groups.
How do you arrange for a group shower?
Does one send out invitations? Is it polite to host a BYOL (Bring your own loofa) shower?
If your neighbor offers to soap your back, are you obligated to reciprocate?
Is the music of the String Cheese Incident appropriate for group shower sing-alongs?
Or is Jimmy Buffett a safer bet?
I have to wonder if showering in groups would really result in water conservation.
Think of all the potential distractions.
Let's face it, there are some groups that were never meant to shower together.
Take the City Council, for instance.
I can imagine the City Council on second thought, don't imagine the City Council in the shower together.
A vivid imagination is not always a good thing.
But you can rest assured the council could easily spend 90 minutes debating which brand of shampoo/conditioner to use.
And that would most certainly result in a net loss of water.
No, there has to be a safer way to to conserve water.
Some night this week, when you're planning dinner, think about corn on the cob. Stop to think about the gallon of water you will inevitably use to boil your corn.
Will you pour it down the sink? Or will you allow it to cool?
Later that evening, when the neighbors are engrossed in Letterman's monologue, will you sneak into the back yard unobserved, to irrigate your delphiniums with corn water?
Sure you will.
Because this is a drought, and droughts call for desperate measures.
By the way, I rode my bicycle past Fish Creek Reservoir Sunday afternoon and was pleased to see that Steamboat's primary source of drinking water is darn near full. And a couple of creeks are still feeding water into the back of the reservoir.
If I understand correctly, there's not much chance we'll run out of water this summer.
But the water you save today will serve to ensure the reservoir fills again next spring.
Conservation shouldn't be a spontaneous reaction to a momentary crisis.
Conservation should be something we practice as a way of life.
If you've come up with some creative ways to save water, we'd like to hear about them.
And if you're hell bent on a group shower, e-mail me and, for a fee, I will put you together with some like-minded conservationists.