Between 1st September 2015 and 1st of September 2016 I used 15 litres of clean drinking water a day for everything from drinking to washing to flushing my toilet. This is approx 10% of the average amount of potable water used by each UK resident every day.
By undertaking this challenge I aimed to question how we use water, and how we can use it more effectively. The idea for the project was developed with scientist Peter Melville-Shreeve, an academic researcher at Exeter University whose focus is on rainwater harvesting. Peter and I worked closely over the year to find ways around any problems I came across. This included using simple rainwater harvesting technology to gather rain water which I then used, as an add-on to my 15 litres of potable water allowance. See the rules of the challenge here.
As well as changing my own habits and raising awareness about water usage, I will use the experience of this challenge to build material for a performance project, to happen in 2018.
I am performance maker, producer and activist (in development). I graduated from East 15 in 2009 from the Acting for Contemporary Theatre course and now I co-direct Theatre Rush and I am a resident at Kaleider studio's.
The work I make comes out of my own experiences of being alive, which in turn spurs me to explore subjects I feel passionate about. The way I work is constantly evolving with each project, but so far constant themes/styles have been - direct address, autobiographical writing, an emphasis on humour and sillyness but a distinct lack of music, which I plan to change with this next piece. My artistic practice gives me a sense of purpose and connects me to myself, other people and world around me. Making theatre, is my portal in to exploring and communicating my ideas, fears, loves and aspirations. Through it I achieve a better understanding of the world and my place in it.
Here's a bit more about WHY I am doing the 15litre water project.
Following a 5 year stint working for an engineering consultancy on flooding and surface water management Pete joined Exeter University in 2012 to take on a Research Engineer post. Pete is undertaking a STREAM Engineering Doctorate seeking to assess the true value of some innovations in rainwater harvesting for UK houses. Pete is currently a committee member of the south west branch of CIWEM and has presented his work on surface water separation at the 2012 CIWEM International Conference in Lille.
Current research involves laboratory and real world appraisals of some novel RWH systems. In addition, Pete's focus is on assessing and delivering appropriately packaged technological innovations that will allow the wider benefits of rainwater harvesting (surface water management, climate change adaptation, carbon emissions reduction. flood management) to be quantified.
During the last week of my challenge in August 2016, I will be inviting you to take part in the project by living off 15 litres of water a day ! For that last 7 days of my challenge you can join in living off 15 litres and see how easy it is. The challenge will start on Monday 22nd of August and end on Sunday the 28th, giving you a total of 105 litres of potable water to use in this time. You'll be asked to follow the same rules as me, but I will be giving tips and advice on how to get through your week. The first piece of practical advice I can offer is this pocket sized spread sheet with tips and information on, you can download it here and print it out to use during the week.
If you want to do the challenge, please join the Facebook group, so you can post pics and share tips ! It would be wonderful to how you get on and any thoughts and reflections on doing the challenge will be great.
The aim of this is to encourage as many people as possible to re-think their own relationship with water. Together we are more likely to make a difference to our collective habitual water wastage.
If you'd prefer to make a donation instead of doing the challenge I have set up this JustGiving page in support of WaterAid Uk and any donations will be gratefully received.
Keep scrolling down for links and ideas of ways you can get involved and start saving water.
Throughout this process I will be documenting the challenges, highs and lows of the project on the blog. I will also keep a list of tips and links for people keen to reduce their water usage here.
Some easy water saving ideas that won't cost you a penny but could save you some.
* Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Obvs.
* You can also fill a 500ml/1litre bottle with water and keep it by your sink, use it to wet your tooth brush and rinse out your month. 500ml could last you up to a week.
* When doing your washing up, fill a bowl or sink don't leave the tap running. You can then use that washing up water to flush your toilet or water your plants. If it has food waste in it just run it through a sieve.
* Put a bottle, half filled with sand/stones into your toilet cistern. This will reduce the amount of water you flush each time. The amount saved will be the same as the size of the bottle.
* When running a bath, put a bowl under the hot tap to catch the cold water before it turns hot, give this water to your plants, or pop it back into the bath to make it the perfect temperature.
* Have shorter showers. 4mins is recommended by Southwest Water, I have an egg timer to prove it. (This could also save you money on your energy bill too.)
* Share your bath water with others, then reuse it to flush your toilet. (There could be potential health risks in sharing bath water, not sure what but I thought I should say this just incase.)
* Toilets use between 4-8 litres of clean drinking water with each flush so, 'if it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down'
* Look into fixing any dripping/leaky taps
There is some more useful info here
I'd love to hear from you. You can get in touch using the form below and it will come straight to my inbox. Thanks.
All photography by Jonny Rowden / website design by Rachael Clerke