As we prepare Pandora for our trip south I am reminded once again of the adage, “when Momma be happy, EVERYBODY be happy!” As I have said many times, it’s all about keeping Brenda happy and aboard with me. These words are particularly true today as it’s her birthday. Yes, January 15th is a day that you too should have in your calendar. However, that’s another story and this post is about the cost of water.
More importantly, just how much would you pay for a gallon of water? That question certainly has many answers all of which depend on your state of mind. Questions such as… how thirsty are you, do you need a bath, or would it be a good idea if the person you are with down below took a bath? Need to wash dishes? Clothes? Each of these weighty concerns relate heavily to keeping Brenda, and to a lesser extent me happy aboard Pandora.
As we prepare Pandora for our upcoming strip to the Bahamas a big issue for us is one of having adequate water aboard. Perhaps better put, the value of a gallon of water depends on how much you carry aboard and in our case, it’s about 125 gallons. This seems like a lot but if you have to work hard, or travel great distances, to get more it’s a big deal.
Aboard Pandora we have two water tanks and we have documented that we tend to use about 15 gallons of water per day. That means with reasonable usage we can fill up about once every 8-10 days, perhaps every two weeks if we were to really conserve.
A great solution to the water supply problem is to install an RO unit, and that’s what we’ve decided to do. As I noted in a past post, we chose a Spectra unit and I will begin installing it in the next few weeks. Setting aside cost, this is one complex unit. Besides the obvious technology that makes the system work, there are a LOT OF PARTS. This sucker is complicated. The instructions that came with it urged me to do a complete inventory upon delivery. Here you go, a complete inventory…
Yes, it does look like it would be expensive. But, more importantly, back to the question about cost. When you purchase a 12oz bottle of “designer” water for $2.00, that translates to roughly $20.00 per gallon. Put it that way and it makes a $4.00 per gallon gasoline seem like a bargain and perhaps it is.
So, how much is a gallon of water worth? In the Bahamas you can purchase water for about $.25/gal but that assumes that you can bring the boat to the dock or are willing to schlep the water by the bucket full from shore in your dink, something that I did last summer in Maine multiple times per week. Given the cost of the unit I purchased it will take nearly 25,000 gallons of water to break even on making verses purchasing water. At 15 gal per day it will take 1,600 days to use that much water. Since we will be aboard Pandora for about 180 days in 2012, that means that we will break even on the purchase in about 10 years. But wait, there’s more…
These calculations don’t even count the cost of maintenance of the unit or the cost of the energy to run it, not an insignificant amount.
So, how much would you pay for a gallon of water? If you compare the RO unit and the cost of those bottled waters that you get, I will actually break even on the unit in 3,000 gallons. However, I find it hard to imagine pouring countless 12oz bottles of water over my head to rinse off after a hot day. Decadent you say?
Perhaps better put is to repeat J.P. Morgan’s quip when asked how much it cost to maintain his yacht when he said, “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” Can I afford to use RO water aboard Pandora? Who knows, but it’s safe to say “when Momma be happy…”
The value of a happy wife with that “just showered feeling”? Bring it on.