water holding

It was world water day last week Tuesday, the 22 March. I was asked to take part in the 1 Day 10 Liters challenge which formed part of the global Giorgio Armani “Acqua for Life” initiative. This campaign, spearheaded in partnership with Green Cross globally, aims to raise awareness on water related issues.

Every year, since 2010, as part of Acqua for Life, Armani has educated people on issues related to water, and, in partnership with Green Cross International and UNICEF, installs water points, latrines, rain water collection, water filtering and purification systems, in areas that lack water or drinking water, a natural element fundamental to life. Since its inception, this initiative has given 108 communities in 8 countries and 3 continents access to drinking water.

water bathroom

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen me tweeting and instagramming about my #1Day10Litres challenge. Now, I’ve always considered myself pretty water wise, hell our water bill even states we use less than the average in our neighbourhood. Also, I grew a grandmother who was VERY water conscious and almost militant about not wasting even a precious drop. She had many nifty techniques in place like only flushing on a number 2 (TMI, I know), never leaving the tap running when brushing teeth, and collecting rainwater for the garden.

When I was asked to take part in the 1 Day 10 Liters challenge, I didn’t hesitate for a moment. It was only when my 10-liter Jerry Can arrived that I realized just how little water 10 liters actually was. How the heck would I manage on so little water for a day?

For the full 24 hours of the challenge, from the minute I woke up, to the moment I went to bed, water was on my mind.

My first toilet stop of the day had me pouring just a mug of water into the toilet after I’d finished my business. Did you know that around 9 liters of water used in just one toilet flush? I didn’t and was actually quite shocked when I found out.

Next up was my daily cuppa. Usually, I fill up my kettle – purely out of habit – before I turn it on to boil. Today, I poured just enough water for a cup into the kettle and was amazed at how quickly it boiled (saving on electricity too).

I showered and washed my hair the night before the challenge, so only had to brush my teeth and wash my face. I decanted a half a cup of water into my sink and submerged my face cloth before wiping my face. When I let pulled the plug, I immediately realized my mistake – I could have used that still clean water for something else, like watering a plant!

I used another half a mug of water to rinse my teeth.

After making my family breakfast, I had a few dishes to wash up and used around 1 liter of water for this (no, I don’t have a dishwasher).

I normally drink around 1.5 liters of water a day, but today I wouldn’t be doing so. Now, I’m not sure if this was psychological, but I had the most intense thirst the whole day and was only drank 3 glasses of water.

water 3

At about 1pm I needed to go for a number 2, but alas…I had to hold it in, or use the remainder of my water to flush my goods. I decided to knype, and eventually the need went away.

water hand sanitizer

I’m a compulsive hand washer, so really struggled with not washing my hands with soap and water. This hand sanitizer by The Body Shop was a godsend. I found it quite gentle on the hands too and the scent was divine.

At 6pm I had just a small amount of water left – enough to boil some pasta, wash up after, then brush my teeth. I went to bed moody, as I wasn’t able to have a long, hot bath and felt sweaty and dirty. I also had a bit of a headache, as I hadn’t drunk enough water during the day.

Lying in bed, I realized just how lucky my family and I are to have access to clean water at the turn of tap. Many millions of people don’t have this privilege.

While I think I’m pretty aware when it comes to my water usage, I know I can do better.

water 1 grass

We removed our water thirsty lawn 4 years ago and replaced it with turf. BEST DECISION WE EVER MADE. Can you even tell the difference in the pic above?

WATER SAVING TIPS

  1. Shower instead of bathing. The average four-minute shower uses an average of 35 liters of water – still less than a bath – which uses around a 100 liters of water.
  2. Compost – Compost eliminates the need for a garbage disposal and adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  3. Replace water-loving lawn with turf. We did this four years ago and it’s been the best investment. It’s green all year round, doesn’t need cutting, raking or airing and always looks good.
  4. Turn off the tap in-between brushing your teeth and rinsing, this saves around 30 liters of water a day!
  5. Water your garden early in the morning, or late afternoon, early evening. Watering midday is counterproductive as so much of it evaporates.

What are your tips for saving water? Please share, as it’s SO important that we are all cognisant of what a precious resource clean water is. We are very fortunate we are to have access to it, but with the terrible drought gripping South Africa, it is a resource we have to protect and not waste.

7 comments

Save water, drink wine!!!!

Actually it will just result in more loo flushing and excessive thirst, so is the answer to cut down on wine to save water – surely not?

You make me laugh, Caryn! Could never cut down on my wine consumption. Is it wine-o-clock yet?

Hi Candice-Lee

I have to ask, what is knype? I consulted Google but it didn’t help, haha!

Growing up, my mother enforced very strict water rules in the house. To wash myself, I would stand up the bath tub, fill up a plastic jug (1 litre) and wet myself with half of that amount. Then grab a bar of soap and begin washing up. Once I was done I’d rinse myself with the rest of the water in the jug, give myself a vigorous rub down to loosen the soap suds and fill up the jug again to full and repeat the half pour, rub to rinse and a final rinse with the last half litre. Just 2 litres to wash up and we were sorted!

Also, she would teach me to wash my underwear while I was busy with all this. So it would sit on the floor of the bath tub and as I soap myself up, I would use the soap to wash my underwear. I’d wring it out and then as I rinse myself, I’d be rinsing the undies as well 🙂

My younger sister is disabled so we didn’t skimp out on water for her because she absolutely loves taking a bath. We would just keep her bath water to do the laundry and water the garden.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I live on my own and only have a shower so I still follow a similar water rule. I’d run the water to get my skin wet and then turn off the water to soap up, exfoliate, shave. And then run it again just to rinse.

I also almost always wash my hair in the bathroom sink (it’s long, almost to the small of my back, so it’s possible for most people) where half a sink of water is enough to wet and shampoo the hair. Then on the second fresh supply of water is for another rinse to condition with a third fill up to rinse the conditioner off.

I find that this helps me save water compared to washing my hair in the shower because I tend to lose time during the rinsing process if my hair is also involved.

Hope this bit of sharing helps someone get an idea or two in making a difference 🙂

Hi Catherine, thanks for the comment. You are my inspiration!!! Amazing tips. My granny also used to get me to wash my underwear in the bath – I completely forgot about it and haven’t done so in years.
I think it’s incredible how you managed to bathe on just 2 litres and am SO going to try your sink hair washing method, thanks.
I’m encouraged to see how many people are cognisant about saving water, but worry when I see how many of my daughters friends (pre teens) have NO clue whatsoever about saving water. It is quite infuriating, but I do try educate them.

Well done on this challenge. You did well. Raising awareness is a great start because we are so accustomed to having water that we can take it for granted. Already doing most of your tips and keen to know more. Thank you for this Candice.

Oh, and you didnt explain to Catherine what ‘knype’ is… hahaha

How could I forget to explain Knype!!! So Catherine, to “knype” is to tighten or constrict, in this context, it means to hold it in, if you know what I mean 😉

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