Well the water conservation challenge has almost drawn to a close for another year. Two more sleeps until I have a nice long hot shower. And run the dishwasher. And put on a load of laundry. I’m pretty freakin’ excited I have to say!
I generally found it easier this year to measure out water in smaller increments (ie a 2 litre jug fill) and record it down, rather than fill a large 25 litre container at the beginning of the day – as that container isn’t always where you want it to be. In saying this I did find it harder to be vigilant with writing everything down, finding myself trying to remember, Did I fill my water bottle once or twice last night?…Still I’m pretty sure I recorded all my water use for the most part.
The media was a bit slow to pick up this year and I didn’t crack through radio or TV as I did last year. However given that last year it was pretty much my job to promote water conservation and thus I had a lot more time to hound the media and give presentations to audiences, I think I did okay. I did manage to get a story in a few local community newspapers and the Otago Daily Times are planning to run a feature on the challenge this Saturday.
As I did last time, I’ve come in quite often under 25 litres per day. As of the end of Day 29, I had 171.6 litres in the bank. I could have a nineteen and a half minute shower with that! If I were so inclined. But no, the end is in sight, I’m sticking it out until Friday. Two more sleeps :)
Thank you for your support this year, I’ll post total savings figures after the end of the month as well as details of water pledged.
Happy World Water Day everyone!
I’m ahead of most of the challenge participants at this end of the world, being in the worlds first time zone and all, so World Water Day is pretty much done and dusted over here. I certainly had a wet day and a free hair wash, albeit without soap, as I picked up and unloaded some new furniture today in heavy rain.
Huge congratulations to Kevin Freedman who has managed this year to get NATIONAL TV COVERAGE on CBC News this evening, the night before World Water Day in Canada. Three years in and he’s got national news, that’s a pretty admirable effort, and I’m sure the fruits of countless hours of promotion and hard work!
It’s been a bit harder to judge how many pledges we’re getting this year with most of them going through the website (www.howlowflowcanyougo.com), and I’m more carrying around business cards than pledge forms this year! However, I did recently get the opportunity to speak with Kiwi musician Kirsten Morrell, formerly of Goldenhorse. Kirsten ‘s been an advocate for environmental causes in the past and is currently involved with a campaign to make Auckland city a Fair Trade city. Kirsten has agreed to reduce her water consumption each day for a month in support of the challenge. Thanks Kirsten! Check out some of her awesome music here:
Hey water warriors
I’ve tried in the past to come up with as many ways of reaching people as possible with this whole water conservation thing. Reading a newspaper article or listening to a dry presentation are not everyone’s ideal way of learning. So if you’re after something a little more creative, check out the spoken word performance poetry piece I wrote about my water challenge. Enjoy!
I’ve been putting it off for a couple of days now, so there was no way to really avoid doing laundry today. My flatmate’s pointed out that I have enough clothes that I could probably just wear clean stuff for the month. It’s the upside of being a hoarder. But as I’m trying to live my life as normally as possible on minimal water, I’m trying to make a point of doing laundry each week.
I’ve gone slightly over my limit today with a total of 29.3 litres used so far. However, given that I currently have about 70 litres of water “banked”, that is, left over from other day’s when I used less than 25 litres, I don’t feel to badly about it.
If you’re wondering how I manage to laundry on a water diet, watch on….
Today’s the 11th, so I’m more than one third of the way through the Water Conservation Challenge. It’s going well – I’ve only gone over my daily allotment once, yesterday – and even then it was just 50 mL’s over, so not overly significant.
I’ve had a lot of great comments and support from people who hear about the challenge, and although it’s too early to tell, I think the use of business cards with the website and blog address really helps to raise the profile. I’ve had some people really give a lot of thought to how they could reduce their water consumption and was thrilled to hear that a work colleague who lives with three not-so-environmentally-conscious flatmates, plans to buy a low flow showerhead for their flat, which will equate to four people saving water in their shower without having to give it a second thought.
I’ve gathered a number of pledges over the past week, and was very happy to gain the support of two of New Zealand’s Green Party Members of Parliament, Gareth Hughes and Kevin Hague. Both went over and above the suggested 25 litres of water per day and have aimed to reduce their personal water consumption by 50 litres per day for the next month. Fantastic effort!
And of course this year, the challenge has introduced the ability for people to make water pledges online. If you haven’t done so already, please visit http://www.howlowflowcanyougo.com and pledge to reduce your water use by a little for the next month. It’s not too hard and you’d be amazed at how much water you can save!
My blog today is not directly related to conservation, but instead deals with the issue of bottled water.
On Day 6 of the water challenge, I went to Homegrown Festival on the Wellington waterfront, along with 17,000 other people. Though it was an awesome day full of excellent kiwi music, it was madness as far as crowds were concerned. I had dutifully bought along my aluminium water bottle but of course had to finish the water before I got through the gates, much like airports these days. I was rather dismayed to find that within the fenced off enclosure between the two huge sweaty tents I spent most of my time at, there was no place to fill a water bottle from a tap. One’s only options were to buy alcohol or bottled water at $4 a pop. Hardly a responsible move by the organizers of the 10-hour long festival I would say. At the Big Day Out they supply free water from a tanker – why not at Homegrown? Instead I was forced to buy four bottles throughout the day – water which I transferred directly into my sturdier aluminium bottle, feeling horrible each time I discarded an empty plastic container.
This leads me to wonder, why do we pay for bottled water at all? Some believe that bottled water is somehow safer or purer than water from your tap. The truth is that a lot of bottled water which is labelled “pure”, “pristine” or “natural” comes from a city treated supply that the companies filter one more time. Given the stringent standards that drinking water providers must adhere to, , there is no reason to doubt the cleanliness of your tap water in large centres in New Zealand.
People tell me, “But I recycle the water bottles that I buy!”
This is a good start at least – recycling your water bottles is much better than throwing them in the rubbish of course. But when you consider the amount of natural resources used to make that plastic bottle, pump the water into it, transport it hundreds of kilometres, and then to transport it once more and recycle it after use…. it really amounts to more than just plastic bottles. If you were to take a 750 mL plastic water bottle and fill it one third of the way up with crude oil… that’s about the amount of oil it took to produce and transport that bottle. That’s several litres of oil wasted over a 12-pack of bottled water at the supermarket!
The other part of bottled water that makes me uncomfortable is the fact that water is a common good – it belongs to all the inhabitants of earth. It makes up over 70% of our bodies. No human being, mammal, reptile, bird, fish or any other living being can live without it. How is it that one person can profit over the sale of an essential element of life to another person?
Obtaining a life sustaining element when you are part of a sweaty dancing crowd shouldn’t come at a cost. Instead on Saturday, it cost me $16.
I’ve eased back into this water conservation challenge quite easily… too easily….
The familiarity of carrying around a little red notebook, diligently noting down all the water I consume, or any kind of drink for that matter, getting up half an hour earlier than usual in order to heat up water for a sponge bath and hair wash……. ah, there’s nothing quite like it.
It occured to me several weeks ago, that this water conservation challenge was happening during a terribly busy month for me. I have two weddings to attend in March which I would like to look presentable at; I am performing some music and spoken word poetry at an arts exhibition in the middle of the month – also quite keen on not looking like a scruffy hoodlum for that; and coming up this weekend is Homegrown festival on the Wellington waterfront – 45 wicked kiwi bands and DJ’s playing at 6 stages throughout the day – bound to be a sweatfest! (if it doesn’t rain, in which case I’ll get a free shower anyhow). I had grand plans of trying to wax my hair up into a mohawk for the day. Then I realized it would probably take at least a whole day’s water allowance to wash that out! No mohawk for me :(
So with all these things going on I thought, perhaps a different month would be better? But then I realized that the point of doing this is to attempt to live your life as normal, with a restricted amount of water. And as Kevin has mentioned in the previous post, my day hasn’t changed significantly – yes I’ve had to allow a bit more time to get basic things done, but really, it’s not all that tough. Once you make the small changes it’s really quite easy to survive, and comfortably (albiet without a waxed mohawk), on far less water than we are used to.
I’ve washed my hair today, flushed the toilet twice, enjoyed three cups of tea/coffee and done dishes and I’m up to 15.65 litres. No sweat. Have a go, you might be surprised :)
Day one is here and nearly done for me! However it’s already half way through day two for Alina in New Zealand. In any event, it has already been going great! We have more than 30 participants who have committed from all over Canada and the world and more respond each day looking to get on board. Our new website has been a hit and the pledges are already rolling in from there.
As for my day, it started as it has in previous Challenges. I filled up my large jug early on and then filled up water bottles, boiled water for my cloth bath and headed out. I usually get caught early on using water that I shouldn’t but this time was quicker than usual. I was out for lunch with a friend of mine and the server brought us each a glass of water. I got three quarters through the glass before I realized that I had 2 1/2 litres of water in bottle form in my backpack. I had the heaviest backpack in the history of backpacks so its a shock to me I would forget, but that’s how it goes. Other than that the day was quite uneventful which is the norm.That is one of the most amazing things about this project, even though I am living on just 8% of the water the average Canadian uses, most days seem in no way out of the ordinary. It goes to show that we really can limit our water use to more sustainable levels without it affecting us too much.
Visit us often and visit the other campaigners blogs too! Check out our new website if you haven’t yet (www.howlowflowcanyougo.com), make a pledge and show us just how low flow you can go!
I’m about to jump into the shower for the last time in a month. And I’m pretty excited to do so, because for the next month, it’ll be all about sponge baths and measuring out every single drop of water I use.
I’m excited to be part of the Water Conservation Challenge once more this year. Last year’s challenge was….well….challenging! But it was not impossible and hearing all the fantastic stories from my friend about how they were now thinking more about their water use – it made it all worth while.
I’m participating from back in my homeland of New Zealand this year. People have been asking me “Why worry about conserving water in New Zealand? We get plenty of rain”. This is true – we do not have to worry too much about water quantity – yet. But there are many other reasons to conserve water. Tremendous amounts of energy go into treating water and pumping it into our homes – only for 80 – 90 % of it to go back into the wastewater system, virtually unchanged and have to be treated again. So saving water saves energy.
Another good reason to leave as much water as possible in our rivers and lakes is that they are becoming so polluted. Forget the NZ 100% Pure motto. The way we are pumping effluent into our waterways, we will be NZ 5% Pure before too long. Already we are seeing “do not swim here” notices at so many of our countries popular swimming spots. So the way I see it, the more water we have in our waterways to dilute the crap that’s going in – the better.
Please visit our fancy new webpage and make a pledge! http://www.howlowflowcanyougo.com
Bring it on, my buckets are ready for action!