Water: give yourself a reality check
Water. Every day we use gallons of the stuff. So, when your water heater goes kaput it’s a bit of a shock and a reality check.
Today I had a bath in five kettles of water. It took 20 minutes to prepare (4 mins per boil) or thereabouts. And that’s without the extra time needed to add in some cold water and adjust to safe temperature. It was a great lesson in patience and gratitude.
Did it annoy me? Honestly, yes a little. I mean for goodness sake who, in the 21st Century, needs to boil water to bathe? Quite a few people. In fact not just to bathe, but also to use and drink safely.
I kind of know all this, of course. After all, it’s just the way of the world, right? And anyway, I’ve got so much to be getting on with. I just haven’t got the time for this c**p! Cue spoilt, stompy foot child-adult response.
Really? Did anyone die? Well, not in my comfortable three-bed semi in the Lincolnshire Fens, thank goodness. But yes, elsewhere…lots of people, every day. 817 children have died of water related illnesses today to be exact, according to onedrop.org
So, I may have to go without running hot water for a couple of days until a plumber comes to call. Ah, boohoo. Poor me. In the meantime, shock horror, I will have just a small lake of wonderfully hot, clean, safe water to wash in instead of the bath full I normally luxuriate in. How will I cope with such hardships?
With a grateful heart, of course. And here’s why.
Time for a reality check
Reality check number 1. I can MAKE time to adjust to this way of life for a few days. In fact I’d challenge you to try it for a weekend. See how the ‘other half’ of the world lives, the parts of the world where fresh, running, clean water is a very rare thing indeed.
Reality check number 2. Five kettles of beautiful fresh water is PLENTY of water to bathe in. No, it really is. After all, there’s still lots of clean water coming out of the tap, it just needs heating up.
Reality check number 3. Bathing in cold water, in the middle of a British summer, is not that bad. In fact some of the world’s leading self-development gurus, such as Tony Robbins, take cold showers/baths as part of their daily practice to help fire them up for the day.
Reality check number 4. Water. We are water. We need water to survive. In the UK, despite shock summer headlines of drought, we have water. Fresh, wonderful, clean, nourishing, invigorating water. We don’t have to fight for it, walk miles for it or take a chance it will be safe when we drink it. We just turn on a tap and there it is, in all its gushing glory.
Let numbers do the talking
Still not feeling just a teeny bit grateful? Okay, so now time for some ‘fun facts’, although these are anything but fun, just reality. Let’s talk in numbers.
663 million. The number of people who have no access to safe water — equal to the combined populations of the United States, Russia, Japan, France, Italy and Canada.
2.4 billion. Roughly 34% of the world’s population have no access to improved sanitation.
5 Litres. If all the water on earth could fit into a 5 litre bucket, less than 1 teaspoon would be accessible fresh water.
3.7 miles. The average distance women in Asia and Africa must walk just to collect water.
1 minute. Every minute a child dies from a diarrheal disease caused by contaminated water and poor sanitation.
So, what have all these guilt-inducing facts got to do with today’s bathing experience, you may ask?
In a few days’ time I will have a water heater that works. I can go back to slipping into a full, hot bubble bath if that’s what I choose. Others do not have this luxury.
I cast one more glance at www.onedrop.com as I bring my blog to a close. Let the statistics speak for themselves.
870. The number of children who have died of water related illnesses today.
To help support work to provide sustainable access to safe water check out www.onedrop.org
Asha Clearwater is an NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) qualified journalist who’s been a news reporter, features editor and arts editor, as well as editor of several national business magazines.
Today, through her business Turquoise Tiger, she coaches SMEs on the art of great storytelling to promote their products and services.
Asha occasionally freelances as a writer for national magazines and is even behind some of the information boards you’ll find strolling through Woodland Trust Forests.