If you have running water freely available in your home that is safe to drink and is hot and cold,
you form part of the richest people on earth. One in ten people don’t have access to safe drinking water.
Of the nine people that do have access, four have to fetch it from outside their homes.
50% of the world’s population have access to one of humans’ most basic needs,
but we take it for granted to such an extent that we waste it.
We all do it; leave the tap running, shower for longer than necessary, ignore water restrictions, pour perfectly safe drinking water down the drain just because it was ‘old’… Even though it sounds absurd, we do it, because we always have water. When we open the taps, that essential element to our survival comes pouring out in infinite amounts. There is this illusion that water is a never-ending resource, and although it might be true in some way, the quantity available is not sustainable for humans’ growing demand for it.
We don’t realise that not everyone has clean water to drink, because we have water in our taps. We don’t realise that the water streaming out of these taps come from dams that are close to empty, because we are so far removed from it. We don’t see the farmer watching over his drought-plagued fields, because we just buy our produce from the fully stocked supermarkets. We don’t know the extent of inadequate sanitation in our world, because when we flush the toilet at least six times a day, there is always water.
My geyser recently burst and I was without water in my flat for five days. I was without hot water for seven days; it was an incredibly humbling experience. I had to fetch water with a pail from the tap on the outside of the cottage. I had to boil a liter water at a time to be able to wash my dishes. I had to sponge bath in my bathroom sink. I had to fill the pail (twice) to flush the toilet. I thought twice every time I was thirsty and whether it was really necessary to drink water. I re-evaluated my decision every time I wanted to open the tap to use water and questioned if it was entirely imperative for what I wanted to do. I became incredibly thankful for the convenient life I live everyday. The amenities and convenience that most people only dream of, I took for granted and I am ashamed.
So now, I try to not only save water, but to value this incredibly important source of life. I try to be truly grateful for every drop of water that I have. And I urge you to do the same.
When the warm water spurts from your shower head, when you flush the toilet with the press of a handle, wash your hands or fill a glass of water with the turn of a tap, wash your dishes or do your laundry with the click of a button… take a moment to truly appreciate how lucky you are. Remember that these seemingly normal activities, or ‘chores’ as we end up calling them, are in fact signs of how fortunate your are.