Last week, I participated in the 4 Liters Challenge, an awareness campaign created by Dig Deep Water, a non-profit that is dedicated to raising awareness of global water issues and providing water infrastructure to those without quality water. According to Dig Deep, the majority of people in the world live on 4 liters of water every day. This is for all uses, including drinking, cooking, and hygiene. When you consider that the average toilet in the US uses at least 10 liters of water per flush, the majority of the world is getting along with far less water than Americans are.
Fresh, clean water is something almost all of us consider as a part of every day life and often take for granted. Before completing the challenge, I was certainly mindful of water conservation. I keep my showers to under 5 minutes and never leave the water running when I brush my teeth. However, I was blissfully unaware of the sheer volume of water I used.
I made the challenge a little easier on myself by not showering for the day, but ended up using almost half a liter brushing my teeth in the morning! After using so much of my water right off the bat, I decided it was necessary to really buckle down and work hard to conserve what water I had remaining.
I was able to make it through the rest of the day by utilizing water-free hand sanitizer after using the restroom, drinking only when I felt thirsty, and coming up with some creative methods to prepare my dinner. (Pro tip: filling a bowl with water to wash your lettuce works as well as running water from the tap over it.)
After my experience, I would highly recommend that everyone tries this challenge for at least one day. All too often, those with ready access to resources forget about how fortunate they are. I firmly believe that experiencing how someone else lives puts your privilege into perspective.