Water Debts

I managed to wash my hair with 1 ½ buckets of water.

Im sure there are lots of  people who manage with less. Im always amazed by the rows of clean shining vessels in small one roomed houses when you know they get them clean with a bucket of water they have to fetch from somewhere far away.

But I’m guilty of using flowing water easily. Not leave-it –open- while- I- brush  but comfortable enough not to give it too much thought . Till now, when we have had to buy water for a few months.

We only seem to do things when it hits us personally. And then sit in judgement on other people who are not doing likewise.

Browsing around to find out how much water we actually need a day, I find that most tables are meant for American consumers and they consume a great deal.

The average person on the earth gets 10 litres  a day while the average American gets 350 litres of water, the average person in Sweden  200, in France they use 150.

My rough estimate is 400-500 litres per day for our family of 4 .

A  guide to usage of water for some activities

Activity Water used
Shower  (57-114 liters)
Brushing teeth (water running)  (3.75-7.51 liters)
Shaving (water running)  (38-57 liters)
Washing dishes by hand (75 liters)
Washing dishes in dishwasher  (34-45 liters)
Flushing toilet  (19-26 liters)

( 1 bucket is about 25 litres roughly)

While we have installed a system to distribute kitchen and bathroom waste water to the  plants, rain water harvesting from the roof is yet to be put in place. Now this will spur us on.

The dismaying part is pundits predict that the water scarcity will increase with the years  in the countries already burdened with the problem. Just as with money and food, the disparity is going to continue. Hopefully at least it will be less.

Kim Mccory  challenges people to manage on 1 bucket of water a day. He hasn’t lived too much in the third world maybe. Visual economics presents  statistics on water and everything else so  illustrations that are  instantly interesting and impactful. And if you want to calculate your water usage,  a quick calculator is here.

Doing without water makes life a bit dreary. I’ve always had this answer ready if someone were to ever ask  ’ what would you do first if you became the CM/ PM?’   My answer would be  ‘get water to every household’.  Sadly, as with most clever replies, it hasn’t got  aired so far.  And  this action plan seems destined to stay folded away..


2 thoughts on “Water Debts

  1. I try not to waste water. But what always strikes me as strange is that those who do not get running water in their houses waste more water than we do. Everyday, they empty what is already there in the bins and trudge to the nearby tap and fill it again!

  2. Radha, I have read in a study that supplying water for a few hours wastes more than continuous supply because of this very habit you mention! Good thinking and observation.

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