Shit Matters: Improving Access to Water Is Key to Child Survival
Alarm goes off… snooze
Alarm goes off for the second time… probably time to get up
Turn shower on… water is freezing! Wait for water to warm up… hop back in the shower… ahh… lovely and warm…
Brush teeth… rinse sink
Hair… check… make-up… check… outfit… check
Still feeling very sleeping… fill kettle… boil kettle… let coffee brew on side
Just spotted dirty dishes piling up in the sink… quickly stack in the dishwasher
Find George drinking coffee I had prepared for myself… argh… fill kettle… boil kettle… keep a close eye on coffee, and George, this time
About to walk out the door when I remember the outfit I need for this evening is still in the laundry basket… quickly fill washing machine while downing coffee… ouch… burnt my tongue!
Look at watch… panic… only 9 minutes till I have to catch the train… and it’s a 15 minute walk… run out the door
In just over an hour I have already used quite a significant amount of water. These early morning tasks are very much part of my daily routine that I rarely stop to appreciate how much I rely on water.
When I brought this up with my colleague Megan, the office serial tea-maker, we pondered for a while about how much water we actually use. It’s something we use so unconsciously, that when we actually sat down to think about it, it was really difficult to remember all the times in the day we had used water for some task or another. So, we decided to challenge ourselves. The following Monday we tallied every single time we poured ourselves a glass of water, washed up a plate, flushed a toilet… essentially any task that required us to use water and at the end of the day compared our scores.
From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed I had already used water 29 times that day. To think if I use water 29 times on an average day, that’s 203 times a week, 870 times a month and 10,556 times a year. For Megan, who had used water 44 times in a day, that would work out to 16,061 times in a year. When you think of it like that it’s pretty shocking. Especially when you think that less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh water, which we use for drinking, cooking washing, agriculture and industry (97% is salt water and 2% is ice and snow). Furthermore due to pollution and contamination a further two-thirds of that is unusable.
Life without access to water
How different would my mornings, my life for that matter, be if I didn’t have such easy access to clean water and sanitation?