How do you use water?

It wasn’t until I was running around collecting water from storm drains during a storm that I realized the preciousness of water – and how blessed I am back home in the US to have unlimited access to it. Completely soaked, I hauled five gallon buckets of rain water across the yard (each gallon of water is eight pounds so that roughly 40 pounds of water!)… to refill a luxury… the pool. And yet this is the reality for many people all over the world… only instead of refilling the pool, they are refilling their sole water source. For bathing, drinking, cooking, cleaning… all of it.

I know that turning off the tap while I brush my teeth and stopping the water between washing dishes isn’t suddenly redistributing it to parts of the world that so desperately need it, but It does remind me to be grateful, and to be conscious of waste.

In my curiosity I made a list. In what activities throughout the day am I water depended?

shower (I just read that an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing country slum uses for an entire day. – United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (2006). Human Development Report 2006, Beyond Scarcity: Power, poverty and the global water crisis)

morning coffee

boiling water for my oatmeal

drinking water

mid morning coffee

washing veggies for lunch

afternoon coffee (I’m from Oregon… we drink a lot of coffee)

water to thaw chicken for dinner

… and I’m sure I’m missing a few more water usages throughout my day

Basically, without my unlimited access to water, I’d be dirty, decaffeinated, dehydrated and eating only processed foods that don’t require water… so maybe a tad bit malnourished. Okay – I’m grateful.

There are EIGHT (maybe more) places to access drinkable water in my office alone.

A friend challenged herself to only use water from one source for a week. She choose her kitchen tap. That meant, boiling water for showers, packing water to the office for the day, etc. Can you imagine?

So lets agree – water is valuable and we all need to take more responsibility in our use of it.

1. Create a “water challenge” for yourself … like taking back the tap!

2. Read up on how organizations like FH are addressing clean water issues

3. Consider giving the gift of clean water 

4. Watch this video