Thursday, 2 April 2015

My Dig Deep Water Challenge Experience by Jo Black

Last week, Jessica and I decided to take on the #digdeepwaterchallenge and only use 5 litres of water a day for 5 days (so 25L in total). Now to your average Brit, this might sound like a lot of water and it certainly looks like a sizeable amount, but when you consider that this is all the water we can use for everything it doesn’t seem like that much anymore.

Jo & Jess with their daily allowance of water.

This means that I didn’t shower for a week (70L on average), didn’t flush the toilet for a week (13.6L, sorry flatmate!) nor did I stick any dirty clothes in the washing machine (60L) or use the dishwasher (13L) or in fact, wash my dishes at all. It’s a good job I have a lot of saucepans because by the end of the week I was eating out of them.  

I knew that this challenge was going to be difficult, especially because I have the worst memory in the world so had to write notes everywhere reminding myself not to turn the tap on or flush the toilet. The one thing I didn’t expect was the fatigue. Through ensuring that I had enough water to clean my hands with and have a flannel wash with, it meant that the water I was drinking was significantly reduced. I think I was consuming around 1L of liquids (we counted other liquids we may be consuming too like coffee and had to measure out how much we put in the kettle). On average, I try to consume 2.5L of water a day. I could feel the effects that consuming less water was having on my body – I was more lethargic, my skin deteriorated (in only 5 days!) and (weirdly) I wanted to eat loads more (not sure about the science in that!).

A 5 Litre bottle of water showing Jo's daily water limit.

In fact, I even tried to go to the gym on the Monday (bad idea) and had to leave after 20 minutes – I had hardly any energy and I was very aware that over-exertion could lead to a very smelly Jo for the next couple of days. On Wednesday, Jessica came over for dinner which was incredibly exciting because it meant we could boil some pasta (it’s amazing how much you miss something until you’re not allowed it anymore) using our shared water.

So, what, you may ask, were we doing it for? There are a few reasons. Firstly, to raise awareness of World Water Day (22nd March) because 750 million people still don’t have access to clean, safe water and that is a travesty. Secondly, to show our student fundraisers that we’re all in this together and to thank them for the incredibly hard work they do for us all year. Thirdly, to accurately show how much I take water for granted. Working for a water charity means I think about the sacredness of water more than most, but I still didn’t realise how much I consumed day to day, and for me the results are shocking.

So, I’ve certainly picked up some good habits from doing the challenge, and I hope I’ve raised awareness amongst my peers too. Will I be doing it next year? Certainly! Feel free to join us and look out for the #digdeepwaterchallenge in 2016. 

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