Everybody Flushes At Once, the Super Bowl Edition

Here we go again. The most clicked PatsPapers.com posting ever was almost a year ago, when I wrote about a water-use graph prepared by the utility company in Edmonton. EPCOR tracked the consumption of water minute-by-minute while the Canada vs. USA gold medal Olympic hockey game was underway. The result was exactly what you’d expect, but it was excellent fun to see our behavior expressed scientifically.

Now, I present the US equivalent, as tracked during the 2011 Super Bowl:


The data comes courtesy of the water utility in Florida’s Palm Beach County. Director Bevin Beaudet admits his customers didn’t quite live up to the synchronized peeing of Canadian hockey fans. But they came close. He told me “our Super Bowl Flush data are pretty dramatic, but the Canadian data are even more so.”

Like the Canada chart, the real-time measurements of water use are tracked against a baseline of typical weekend consumption. You can see key moments in the game tracked against water consumption. As the first half goes on, football fans are increasingly reluctant to walk away for a bathroom break. When the first half ends the water starts flowing in a big surge. There seems to be a decline again when the Black Eyed Peas start their halftime show, then a round of “might as well go now” flushing just before the game resumes. In the second half, there’s a similar trend of waiting until the end of the game.

The one notable difference between the Olympic hockey and Super Bowl charts is what happens at the end of the game. The hockey game was an afternoon match. With the game between the Packers and Steelers wrapping up at around 10 pm, you can note on the chart above that the red “typical” line comes into alignment with the Super Bowl Sunday line. My theory is this: that’s about the time people head to bed every night, so there’s a surge of teeth brushing and flushing every Sunday at 10 pm, whether it’s Super Bowl Sunday on or not.


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