Million Gallon Challenge | HI USA

Take 30 seconds off your shower, save a whole gallon of water.

Thanks to a quarter million dollar grant from, we’ve teamed up with Hydrao for an ingenious way our hostel guests can help us save a million gallons of water just by shaving 30 seconds off their shower time. The SmartShower changes color based on time spent in the shower, and if you get out in time, you’ll be saving one gallon towards our million gallon goal. Are you up for the challenge?

How does it work?

Our behind-the-scenes scientists measured the length of the average shower taken at a HI USA hostel, and the SmartShower will be programmed to turn red 30 seconds before that time. The showerhead’s LED light will start out blue, turn to green, then to orange, and finally red, which is when you can choose to get out. Thirty seconds’ worth of water in the shower adds up to a whole gallon, so if you follow the color cues, you’ll be one in a million helping us reach our goal. Every single person, and every single shower, counts!

How do I become one in a million?

Starting on World Water Day - March 22, 2019 - we'll start counting gallons of water saved. The challenge begins with 3 hostels, HI New Orleans Hostel, HI San Francisco City Center and HI Santa Monica hostels, with the rest of network up and running by mid-summer 2019. The best way to get involved is to book a stay and take one of the showers for a spin! If you’re in between travel plans, you can share your water saving tips with our community of travelers using #milliongallonchallenge on social media, and try taking shorter showers wherever you are. You can keep checking in on our progress as we aim to save a million gallons of water, 30 seconds at a time.

Where did this idea come from?

During California’s most recent five-year drought, HI USA started exploring ways to save water. One of the ideas was to install Hydrao SmartShowers, which would also help our eco-conscious community get involved. With a quarter million dollar grant from’s Booking Cares Fund, HI USA is working on getting over 700 innovative showerheads into our hostels. You’ll have the option to continue your shower after the red light comes on, but if every guest follows the color cues, HI USA will be able to save a million gallons of water in no time!

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Sustainability at HI USA

Find out more about HI USA's commitment to sustainability. From our hostel buildings to our guest activities, we like to keep things green.