New High-tech Shower Recycles Water

April 13, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cut down / kət ˈdaʊn / (v. phrase) – to reduce the use or intake of something
Example: People should cut down on water consumption because of the coming drought.

2. consumption / kənˈsʌmp ʃən / (n.) – the act of using or consuming something
Example Electricity consumption is higher during summer because of the hot weather.

3. apparatus / ˌæp əˈræt əs / (n.) – tool or equipment used for a particular purpose
Example: The apparatus was designed to keep the temperature stable.

4. contaminant / kənˈtæm ə nənt / (n.) – something that causes a substance to be dirty or harmful
Example: Drinking water must be filtered for contaminants like bacteria.

5. treat / trit / (v.) – to improve the quality of a substance (e.g. water) to make it safe for use
Example: The purifying facility treats water to make it safe to drink.


Read the text below.
Sweden-based company Orbital Systems has released a high-tech shower that can recycle water.

The Orbital Shower can cut down water consumption from the 150-liter average used in a 10-minute bath to just five liters. Orbital Systems industrial engineer Mehrdad Mahdjoubi [MEHR-dad mah-JOO-bi] came up with the idea while he was working on a project for NASA. He realized that water-saving technology used in space can also be applied in Earth, where the need to conserve fresh water is increasing.

Unlike in ordinary showers, used water is not discarded right away when using the Orbital Shower. It comes with a special box-like floor where water is collected. Inside this apparatus, mechanisms for purifying water can be found.

Two special filters, called purification capsules, clean the collected water. In the first filter, large contaminants such as dirt and dead skin are removed. The water is then treated in the second filter to kill bacteria and viruses. The shower system recycles the same water several times. When the sensor inside the shower floor detects that the water is already too contaminated, the recycled water will be discarded and replaced with fresh water.

The shower is marketed for the use of homes and commercial buildings. Orbital Showers, which have a price range of $4,800 to $5,900, are remarkably more expensive than normal showers but can save an average family more than $1,000 in water and electricity bills yearly.

Orbital Showers were first installed in 2013 in a bathing house in Sweden. Now, even more Orbital Showers are being sold, especially in California, where there is a drought, and in Denmark, where water is very expensive.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from those mentioned in the article, in which places can Orbital Showers be useful?
·         Personally, would you buy the Orbital Shower? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Would you rather buy an expensive item that could help you save money, or a cheap item that would require other expenses?
·         If you could design a device that could save water, what would you make?

April 13, 2016