Basic Human Needs: Water

January 23, 2009

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This is hard work and this family does it every day. What if you had to carry your water? We would be more actively in tune with our needs. This is a sobering issue. How little water can we live with? 

David Wilk, on his blog,turntotap.com has been following the progress of grad school blogger, Abigail (waterfortheages.org) who challenged herself to limit her water use to 13 gallons or less/day of water for one week. She writes: “I had two goals at the beginning of the challenge: 1) to better understand my daily water use habits, and 2) to understand how it feels to live on a human right allocation of 50 liters (13 gallons app.) of water each day. For the most part, I achieved these goals.”

She goes on to say: “Yet, living with indoor plumbing in an 1100 square-foot house, it would be difficult for me to ever approximate the life of someone in a developing country through this 13-Gallon Challenge. The water challenges that many people throughout the world face are much greater – think carrying water for eight-hours each day…”

Abigail’s typical daily use looked like this: 

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It looks pretty basic. Like camping? What else could she eliminate? Not much. Simply turning the tap off while brushing teeth, not flushing every time there is some yellow liquid in the toilet and shorter showers can account for many gallons in a day. I am a bath lover and it is a difficult habit to break. I am very blessed to live in New England with a productive well. If I had to haul water from a nearby pond I would make do with just a quart of hot water in my hot water bottle!

This is very thought provoking for me. What are your thoughts?

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