Here we are folks: California’s in the midst of one of the worst droughts on record, and unsurprisingly, some Californians see the struggle as a great opportunity to get rich. The already filthy rich Apple CEO Tim Cook is one of them!
Along with members of the Google dynasty, Cook is investing in Nebia, a water-saving showerhead that retails for $400. The sleek bathroom gadget claims to use “70-percent less water than a typical household showerhead” by atomizing water droplets so that they have 10-times more surface area. In other words, it creates mist instead of an actual shower. (Nebia actually means “mist” in Italian. Elsewhere in California, hotels are coming under fire for water-misting their too-rich-to-be-hot patrons.) “For the average U.S. home,” the company’s Kickstarter project brags, “Nebia pays for itself in less than two years.”
Does it, though?
It’s always hard to tell whether a Kickstarter project will live up to its promises or burn its backers in a blaze of money-laden glory. With write ups in the New York Times and Wired (and now Gizmodo) the Nebia is certainly attracting attention, too. It doesn’t hurt that investors like Tim Cook and Wendy Schmidt, wife of Google billionaire Eric Schmidt, are throwing their support behind the conservation-minded Nebia design. And you can too by backing the project on Kickstarter!
But doesn’t something feel icky about all this hype? California’s megadrought is a big problem, a problem with no end in sight and one that will take more than rich people marketing expensive bathroom gadgets to solve. You have to wonder if the rich people buying and funding the Nebia showerheads aren’t just doing this so they can feel a little bit better about themselves when they water their lush lawns in Los Gatos or go golfing in Palm Springs. Bathing in a luxurious, water-conserving mist certainly isn’t going to help the West Coast recoup the many trillions of gallons of water it needs to recover from the drought completely.
This is not to say that the Nebia claims to be a solution to California’s water woes. The shower system simply claims to offer a one-of-a-kind bathroom experience, complete with H2MICRO™ technology that saves lots of water during this historically destructive drought. Of course, you’re not going to save California with a showerhead. But at least you can wash away some of your privileged guilt.
Images via Nebia