One year on.

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One year on.

I have finished.  My year has come to an end.  I have that disappointing feeling, like when you wake up on your birthday morning a year older but you feel and look exactly the same.   And yet, you are different from a year ago, it’s just not obvious.  Unless you take time to think back over your year, and all those little events and some of those big events that took place. Some which feel like they happened yesterday and those that feel like they happened more than just a year ago.  

I feel that same slight disappointment but also that feeling of quiet happiness that on this day I get to congratulate myself of a year achieved.   

I can safely say, without a doubt in my mind my water consumption and obsession has changed.  My habitual rhythm of using less water feels second nature now and even on my first day of ‘freedom’ from the 15 litre water challenge, I won’t flush any toilet if I have just done a wee.  There is no way I am going back to having a shower each day, or even having one that last more than 4/5mins.  I just don’t need to, I have proved to myself that I can function perfectly well, be happy, clean and sociable living on less potable water a day.  I can feel it is in my body too.  Things that were a challenge at the being of the year are things I do now without thinking.  And the thought of being ‘able’ to flush the toilet even though I had just done a wee, seems like a foolish and reckless action to take.  Why waste 6 litres of water! There is a funny repulsion of this idea, that I can only attribute to a radical change in my thought patterns and habitual behaviour around how I use and engage with water.  I am hoping and wishing this urge, this mentality doesn’t leave me in the next few months.  I am conscious I could slip back in to the ease of social norms and pressures to use 150 litres of water a day, cus that’s what everyone else is doing. I guess time will tell.  

One thing I haven’t really talked about much (a small obsession that has grown over this year) is, embedded water.  The water that is used to make our clothes, technical devises get food onto our plates etc…Mainly because this is such a huge subject.  Water isn’t just the thing that keeps us physically alive, it’s what makes all of life as we know it possible.  Your phone, your pants, your burger, your house, your toothbrush, your cat, your family all this exists because of water.  It is our one constant, much like oxygen.  And it’s invisible. So, until this year I had forgotten or perhaps didn't even know of it's magic and to be honest I still don’t think I fully grasp it’s importance on my existence.  There is too much other noise, getting in the way for me to see the chain of events that so often connects me with this invisible water magic.  It’s hard to articulate. 

And so, as I finished this year I have the sense that what I have started is much bigger than just what I use daily.  I am also now thinking about the global challenges we are facing with deplenishing fresh water resources and the contamination of clean water sources through irresponsible manufacturing practices. Electricity, gas and oil we CAN live without, water we CAN NOT live without.  Obvious I know. 

Thank you for reading.  

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RATIONAL AND RULES

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RATIONAL AND RULES

THE RATIONALE - 

To demonstrate that society has become disconnected with the water we consume through, living on 10% of a typical UK consumer (10% of the national average for a week is 105litres). 

THE RULES

1 - You must live on 15 litres of potable water (drinking water) a day, or 105litres between Monday the 22nd and Sunday the 28th

2 - 'Other liquid' can be drunk each day, e.g. juices, sodas, beer, wine etc..but these must be recorded and count towards the 15 litre total. 

3 - You are allowed to supplement water from other sources as you wish, this won't count towards your 15 litre total.  E.g. rain water, grey water, river water etc... 

4 - You can keep a record of you actual water usage each day and specify what was used of what.  I'd recommend this record been keep as a spread sheet.  You can print this one I have made for ease. 

5 - Water can be accrued within a week i.e. if you use 50litres Monday - Saturday you can then use the remaining 55litres on Sunday. 

6 - If you work in an environment that needs you to use water e.g. cleaning/barmaid/cook.  You only need to count personal use. 

7 - All alternative water resources should be deemed hazardous to health and caution muct be taken in how these water resources are used and interacted with.  Rain, grey and river water all have potential health risks associated with them as they may contain bacteria, so just be careful.  

8 - Enjoy. 

 

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The struggle.

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The struggle.

‘It must be really hard!’  

Is what most people say when I explain to them the rules of the 15 litre water challenge.  More often than not a question follows, ‘how are you surviving?’  

And I say,  ‘yeah, fine.  It’s actually pretty easy’.  Then silence...

I feel a strange sense of guilt that I didn't go into a detailed story about how hard I am finding it, that I am really struggling and I am thinking of quitting.  As I think that is what most people expect or want to hear.  Not the simplistic, one liner of ‘yeah, it’s actually easy’.   Immediately after saying this one liner I wish I had lied, to sound more interesting, or at least to give us something to talk about.  Even, if it is so I can fit into the popular narrative that climate change is inevitable and we, as individuals can’t do anything to stop it so we might as well just chill.  

Instead of explaining my struggles, I find myself exclaiming ‘I love water’.  I talk about how I feel connected to it, to this element that literally keeps us alive.  That before I was, careless and ignorant about it’e existence and importance.  I took it for granted and now, I take care of it because I understand more completely how it takes care of me. We would all die if we didn’t have water. Remember that little sciencey fact? I had forgotten it.      

Actually, it’s exciting that I am not struggling. That I am surviving.  In fact its a surprise.   When I first agreed to do the challenge, I was extremely nervous I thought it would be horrible and I would fail for sure.  But thinking about it now, the most struggle I have faced, so far, is what to do when I need a pooh in a public place.  Not so bad in the grand scheme of things.   I thought, I was going to be thirsty all the time, smell like hell and not be able to socialise much.   Well, I have learnt, one I didn’t and still don't drink enough water, two my natural smell isn’t that bad and three, I not as social as I thought I was.  Three other things that occurred to me are that, I feel more aware of the weather, the planet and weirdly my body.

So, I do struggle and it is hard. But the hard bit isn’t changing my water usage. The pressure to talk about it, tweet and write blogs about it, that, for me is the hard bit.  I get paranoid that I cansound or come across as preachy or righteous.  When actually the purpose, of this challenge is not to accuse anyone else of not doing enough or to make them feel guilty about climate change.   But to empower myself and change my own negative habits.  And if that opens up the possibility for others to explore their own relationship with water, then great.  

This relatively small and simple task I have accepted to do has given me the strength and insight into how easy it can be to change behaviour and build awareness.  

How do I not sound preachy, but still manage to capture peoples imaginations ? That is what I am struggling with and finding hard

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It's still raining...Yes!

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It's still raining...Yes!

It’s raining it’s pouring....My water butt is filling up! 

Secretly (or maybe not so) I am glad it is still raining, means my water butt stays nice and full for my flushing.   But I haven't been very good at getting through the 250 litres of water that gets collected weekly and I was beginning to feel bad it was just sitting there not being used.  So I invited/made my house mates and guests use the rain water to flush too.  All have been excellent at using it.  The guests that have stayed recently have use the water pump to flush the toilet, which I am really happy about.  I thought is was going to be a massive hassle for everyone and they’d resent (and slightly hate) me for asking them to use it, but as it stands they are all joining in with no complaints.  To me anyway. They are using my flush tally on the back of the door, used to mark down when they have flushed so I can see roughly how many litres gets used.  One of my house mates has, amusingly renamed the flush tally to our ‘pooh tally’ which, I guess is right.    .  All this flushing means the water butt got down to half empty, which hasn’t happened since I installed it back in Feb, that’s how exciting my world is folks ! 

I have to admit I have had a couple of moments when I have worried about it running out and having a little panic that I shouldn't have asked them to join in using it.  And one guest accidentally forgot to turn the pump off, while I was away, so a bunch of water was wasted.  When I first heard about this, via a text message, I got angry instantly.  Thats my f***ing rain water! How can they have been so irresponsible! Didn’t they know how precious it is! Then I reminded myself I didn’t own the rain water, it’s not mine. I calmed down and just felt sad that water had been wasted, but mistakes happen.  No point crying over spilt…rainwater.   It’s going to rain again, and the butt will be full again, no need to panic and get possessive. It’s not going to stop raining is it? I mean this IS England.  

I haven’t been using the rain water for anything else, just flushing.  I will probably start watering my plants with it and I have thought about boiling it and using it for cooking/tea drinking. But when I lift the lid there are lots of bits in it and I don’t dare drink it incase I get ill. Then I feel guilty, like I am not taking the challenge seriously enough.  I start to think about the millions of people who are living without clean water, and that the water in my water butt is probably relatively clean compared to the water they have access to.  That hurts my head and my heart and I wish I could rearrange the world so clean safe water was available for everyone, not just the privilege few. 

Having and using less water has made me more and more aware of my own privilege and luck.   And sometime I think does connivence contribute to privilege ? More time to, think, learn, work, socialise be creative.  Agh…these are some of the rabbit wholes I find my mind wondering down, as I am doing 15litres challenge.  One thing is for sure I have never felt so grateful that it rains so much here, (now that I can use it to flush my toilet).  So selfish.  Classic human. 

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The art of a 3min shower.

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The art of a 3min shower.

Showers.  Yes I am having them.  This is a joke that has come up quite a few times after I explain to someone what I am doing, they usually reply ‘Well you still smell ok to me!”  

Truth is I never really liked having showers, I don’t know why I was always more of a bath person.  But recently, well actually since doing the 15 litre challenge I have come to love my time in the shower, all 3 minutes of it.  I started off just having 2min showers as I was less confident about how much water I was going to get through in a week, but now I even sometimes have a 4min shower (as recommended to me by Southwest Water!).  I stand in a purple trugg bucket so I can catch the water to use for flushing my toilet, I have a timer on my phone which I press at the exact same time as I turn on my shower, then when the buzzer goes off so does the shower.   The 3min shower uses 10.5 litres of water each time, so I tend to have a shower every 2/3 days.  

Now, as you might have seen I have short hair, so obviously I have less to wash than a lot of people.  Still I think that you can enjoy a 3/4min shower even if you have hair down to your bum.  It’s about time management and prioritising.  Once the shower is on, unless you are brave, I am not, the first 10-20 seconds are wasted waiting for the water to heat up, then it’s straight in -  feet get the pleasure of the cold water from the first 10 secs - the rest of the body is pleasantly surprised by the heat after the cold air of the bathroom.  Then it’s shower gel in hand and washing/rinsing commences, this takes approx. 2mins, then there is a cool 60/50 seconds to enjoy the feeling of sprinkling water hitting your skin, this is when I take a moment to day dream.  

I remember the first shower I had back in September, in the first week of the challenge.  When I got out I was so conscious of all the water still left on my body, the little beads of water stuck to my skin like shiny glitter.  I wanted to try an save them, it felt like a waste to mop them up with my towel.  I must have stood there for a good minute thinking about it before my body got too cold and I had to wrap myself up in my towel. 

I still think about them now, the minute amounts of water that we take for granted, that help us not only to be clean and happy but to function and stay alive.  

What’s the art ? The art is, like with so many things, get the washing out of the way first, then you can enjoy doing nothing for a few moments.  Believe me, the last seconds will feel like minutes when you are waiting for a timer to go off.   

Have a 3min shower, I dare you ! (If you have a 5min shower I’d be impressed).  Let me know how you get on via twitter or on the FaceBook page. 

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Rain water guilty.

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Rain water guilty.

Last week was going to be when Pete the scientists came and installed a pump to my water butt. This would pump water directly to my toilet, so I didn’t have to make the long journey down my stairs out into the cold to collect it.   However, Pete has been super busy doing sciencey things so wasn’t able to install the pump.  Hopefully it’ll happen in the next couple of weeks. 

I was pretty disappointed by this, which in turn made me I realised something.  I am lazy.  I have 250 litres of grey water just outside my house and I want to install a pump so I don’t have to go out and collect it and carry it back up in to the house.  Really !? Yes, really.   And for that I feel ashamed and embarrassed, I am struggling so hard with my lazy habitual nature, which I realise has been ingrained into me by a life time of growing convenience for us humans.   It is amazing my how much it is in my body, this genuine reluctancy to exert effort for a simple tasks, like collecting water in a bucket.  There have been countless times when I WISHED I could just flush a toilet without having to think about it.  Because now, when I do flush a toilet I feel instant regret and guilt.  Two very common emotions that emerge from me when faced with climate change/the environment’s well being.  AHHH!  

I need to remember that one of the main reasons behind this project, is the opportunity for me to take some responsibility for my life on this planet, so I can start to move passed my paralyzing guilt and into positive action.  But this internal struggle around my own desire for convenience and the opposing hope that I can change, is constant and fucking confusing ! I experience this, not just in relation to my water usage, but also in other areas such as food waste, energy usage and my subconscious assumption I need to buy everything !  (To make me happy, obvs.)    

Now, I see why the head in the sand option, is so appealing - ignorance is bless.  

The main thing that is helping me through some of this turmoil is my own stubbornness to do what I said I would do.  And to have a little help along the way, isn’t necessarily lazy, it’s just part of the ‘scientific’ process, right !? We are exploring how we can continue to develop conveniences, only this time we are trying to put the plant first so hopefully my convenience can be less harmful to it and to me/us. 

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Catch up.

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Catch up.

Hello, sorry for the blog silence.  This is possibly the hardest thing about the 15 litre water challenge, finding time to write this blog ! 

Ok, ok, enough complaining - so there is lots that has happened and i’ll do my best to keep it short and sweet.  

Christmas - So if you read my last blog, you might recall that I wanted a bath for Christmas.  You’ll be please to know that I got one. In fact, I got two !   

But how ? 

Where they just REALLY shallow ones ? 

Nope. 

Heated up rain water ? 

Nope.

You took a break from the challenge cus it was Christmas ? 

Nope, it was grey water.  Both times. 

Grey water ?! Gross. 

Well, you may think so, but thanks to my Mum’s clever thinking (I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it already) I was able to have 20mins to myself in a bath of warm to lukewarm water.   My Mum had a bath and then, as soon as she got out I jumped straight in, a bit like the in the good old days.  There are stories about whole families sharing a bath once a week, back in the day right ?  I know that when I was really little I'd share my baths with my siblings but it seems that once you have reached a certain age sharing bath water, isn’t the done thing.   I think it’s this, which is making me feel a little embarrassed about telling this story. I have a feeling some people might think that it’s dirty or just a step too far in the challenge to save water.  And maybe it is, but if it's between not having a bath until the 2nd of Sept and feeling embarrass, well I choose the latter every time.  

2016 -  New Years came and went and I managed to stay within my water consumption allowance, I only drank half a bottle of Prosecco. 

Me and Pete (the scientists) met up in early Jan and had lunch, he also gave me a water meter so I could measure exactly how much my washing machine used.  Laundry has  been one of the harder parts of this challenged.  I found out from the manual for the washing machine it used 63 litres, for a half load on a cotton cycle at 40.  This was more than half of my weekly usage so it meant I had to do quite a lot of saving in the week, if I wanted to do any washing.  I attached the meter Pete lent me and it turns out that my 30mins wash on a 30 uses 43 litres.  This is much better than I had expected.  I also had a lot of fun measuring the water, Pete would be proud of my ‘field research'...Next up, fixing a pump to my water butt, so it can feed rain water straight to my toilet cistern so I can start flushing again !    

Something else that happened,  I turned 30 and went to Berlin with some friends to celebrate.  We saw the sights, ate good food, had our picture taken by the Berlin wall, I got a tattoo and also flushed the toilet where we were staying more than I wanted too.  

That’s it for now, I promise I wont take so long to write the next blog !

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Laundry day.

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Laundry day.

It’s December already and Christmas is just around the corner.  If anyone asks me what I want for Christmas, I will reply ‘I would like a bath please’.  Obviously one that isn’t run using potable water.  Seriously though, in these dark and cold months I am missing the luxury for sinking into 60-100 litres of perfectly heated water and letting all my worries drift away.  Instead I get to have a 3 mins shower, and that is when I am feeling generous, normally it’s just 2mins.  Other than my struggles with wanting a bath, I have also found it really tricky doing my laundry.  The first two months were ok, the novelty of doing my washing by hand was keeping my positivity and energy up, as I spent 2/3 hours on a Sunday bent over my trugg, wringing out jeans, socks, shirts and pants by hand, with the soap making my hands feel strange and dry the next day.  But it did feel like I was using some new muscle groups, mainly in my back.  Last month, I couldn’t face the pile of laundry that had mounted up over the last few weeks, I knew looking at it, this was going to be my first real test.  I spent a long time battling myself, before I gave in and went and had a look in the washing machines handbook, to see if there was any info about water usage.  Manual’s for electrical goods are horrible.  After getting brain ache from reading about all the different ways you can wash your clothes, spins cycles etc…I found a break down of how much water a half load cotton cycle at 40c would use ! Jack pot. A grand total of 63 litres.  Shot that is a lot. But I could use whatever water I had left over from that week...I had 75 litres spare.  I could do a load of laundry, woo ! This, my friends was great news. 

  This one load of laundry has made huge difference to my life, that sounds drastic, but it’s true nearly 4 weeks on and I am only just now needing to think about doing another load.  I do feel a bit funny about using a washing machine, it feels a bit like cheating.  Someone did say to me, ‘They don’t have washing machine’s in third world countries’ which yeah of course.  ‘But I am not doing this as some first world attempt to ‘live like someone in the third world’ that to me seems a little patronising.  I am trying to take responsibility for my wasteful and uninformed behaviour around my own water usage, as a person living in the UK, a ‘first world’ country.   I hope that by doing this I can demonstrate to people that it is possible to live on less, that it is not a massive sacrific.  

It’s conversations and challenging questions like these that makes this project/challenge worth it.  So thanks friend.

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Could I possibly have too much water ?

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Could I possibly have too much water ?

The last week it has rained a couple of times really hard and my water butt is full to the top ! This means I have 250 litres of rain water sitting outside my house.  That feels like a huge amount to get through ! This evening, I empty out 8 litres into my flushing bucket ready for tomorrow.  Which felt good I was making a dent, only 242 litres left ! I hope it holds off raining for a day or two.  

It did mean though that after cooking and doing my washing up, I had grey water that, well I didn’t need to use as flushing water.  This made me feel really strange, could I throw my grey water away ?  Just pour it down the sink ?  It was getting late and I was feeling tired, I didn’t have a spare bucket to put it in, and I had use it to wash up in, it wasn’t like I was throwing clean drinking water away.   So against my new found habits, I tipped the washing up blow over and let all the grey water flow down the drain in to the pipes to join the water works.   I feel like I have too much water now, need to think of ways to use up all my rain water - I only have four plants ! 

Also today I used my quota of 15 litres, this hasn’t happen yet outside of my laundry days, so I was excited when my spread sheet said 15 in the totals box.  It also made me think about my life.  I am getting excited about rain and maths, never thought that would happen.  

Pete is out in California at the moment, at some kind of a conference about water, with other engineers sharing info about how we can better look after our water resources.  I am looking forward to catching up with him about what he has learnt, I’ll make sure I record it, or maybe even get him to write a post about it ?

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MY WATER BUTT

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MY WATER BUTT

MY WATER BUTT

So I have had a water butt installed in the alleyway outside my flat.  YEAH ! Pete the scientists, came around with the butt, two buckets of tools, some bits of tipping and a hammer with a pink handle. He arrive in the afternoon and by tea time it was all working and ready to start collecting rain.   I found myself once again willing it to rain, which I know is a stupid thing to do in this country as I am fully aware we will be getting lots of rain over the next 6 months.  

The process was pretty simple, find the down pipe that collects the run off from my roof, cut a bit out of it and attach a funky new bit that funnels the rain into the water butt.  What I also learn was that this funky new bit does two things - It funnels the rain water into the water butt, but it also funnels it back down the drain pipe when the water butt gets full so there is no leaking of over flowing going on. Perfect.  I was glad about this as I was starting to panic about how I was going to use 250 litres of rain water after we had a good old day or two of rain.  I don’thave a garden and I don't go to the toilet that much.  

Cutting through the down pipe was the hard bit, as I live in an old building a lot of the plumping is, from another era.  I thought drain pipes would all be made out of plastic, easy to cut through.  But no, my down pipe is made of thick metal. This meant it was hard to cut through and took about 45mins.  Thankfully we with got some help from my housemate Jonny and also Simon, who had kindly agreed to film us installing the butt and found himself being put to work! It was a lot of fun and I think we all felt a sense of achievement once it was done.  It also gave our guns a good work out.  Even thought my down pipe was a bit of a mare to cut through all in all this was a really simple process, which made me think that every house should have a water butt.  

I really enjoyed the conversations that happened whilst we were working together, Pete knows a silly amount about this rain water business and it was a chance for me to ask him questions and talk about things all water related.   There is something quite magical that happens when art and science collide, for me it makes both subjects make more sense.  I am really enjoying this chance to enhance my science knowledge, even if it is still the simple stuff, learning is always inspiring.  

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      So I am coming to the end of my 3rd week of the 15 litre water challenge.  And to reflect a little, it has actually been really easy so far.   I feel like I am able to cope remarkably well with out the choice of a constant flow of clean water.  I am drinking more which is a good thing, I do my best to get through my 2 litres a day although sometimes I don’t manage it, it’s hard to drink that much, especially when you have been drinking tea and other drinks in the day.  Tea/wine/other drinks by the way are also included in my daily allowance, hasn’t stopped me having a few cocktails on a Friday night.  There were a couple of days last week that were a little challenging.  For work I travelled to Gloucester as we are doing some research for our Theatre Rush show ‘The Lost Tales of Gloucester’. This was the first time I had been away from home whilst doing my water thing, luckily I was with Katie who was super helpful.  Katie and I co-funded Theatre Rush together and she is a wonderfully supportive person the work with.  She proved this even more over the two days we were away, there’s not many people who I could trust to do this kind of thing for me.  But Katie, she went into the bathroom after me and flushed, no matter if it was a number 1 or 2, true friend.  We’d arranged to time it so she would tell me she needed to go and I would slip in before her, then she’d go and flush it all down together.   On two occasion this technique felt a bit like we were on some kind of secret mission, when we were in the hotel it was fine, but on these two particular occasion we were meeting with people in their village halls.  Not a place you want to leave, let’s say a ‘present’ for someone in the loo.  I definitely felt a little embarrassed about leaving it there, and got a little cold sweat thinking about one of the lovely old ladies walking in to find it, luckily Katie was on the case, I did’t even notice her slip in after me and flush it all away, mission accomplished.      These couple of days made me think how far I am going and will I be able to stick it out.  I am not going to be at home for the whole year I will be on tour with the show, visiting family at Christmas going away for my Birthday etc…How will I cope in these situations without Katie ?  We’ll she had a suggestion, I need to find a some kind of contain I can carry around with me (empty of course) and then fill it up to flush when I need to.   Good idea, so my hunt for a contain that folds away nicely but can carry at least 2 litres begins - anything suggestions welcome !  

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So I am coming to the end of my 3rd week of the 15 litre water challenge.  And to reflect a little, it has actually been really easy so far.   I feel like I am able to cope remarkably well with out the choice of a constant flow of clean water.  I am drinking more which is a good thing, I do my best to get through my 2 litres a day although sometimes I don’t manage it, it’s hard to drink that much, especially when you have been drinking tea and other drinks in the day.  Tea/wine/other drinks by the way are also included in my daily allowance, hasn’t stopped me having a few cocktails on a Friday night.

There were a couple of days last week that were a little challenging.  For work I travelled to Gloucester as we are doing some research for our Theatre Rush show ‘The Lost Tales of Gloucester’. This was the first time I had been away from home whilst doing my water thing, luckily I was with Katie who was super helpful.  Katie and I co-funded Theatre Rush together and she is a wonderfully supportive person the work with.  She proved this even more over the two days we were away, there’s not many people who I could trust to do this kind of thing for me.  But Katie, she went into the bathroom after me and flushed, no matter if it was a number 1 or 2, true friend.  We’d arranged to time it so she would tell me she needed to go and I would slip in before her, then she’d go and flush it all down together.   On two occasion this technique felt a bit like we were on some kind of secret mission, when we were in the hotel it was fine, but on these two particular occasion we were meeting with people in their village halls.  Not a place you want to leave, let’s say a ‘present’ for someone in the loo.  I definitely felt a little embarrassed about leaving it there, and got a little cold sweat thinking about one of the lovely old ladies walking in to find it, luckily Katie was on the case, I did’t even notice her slip in after me and flush it all away, mission accomplished.    

These couple of days made me think how far I am going and will I be able to stick it out.  I am not going to be at home for the whole year I will be on tour with the show, visiting family at Christmas going away for my Birthday etc…How will I cope in these situations without Katie ?  We’ll she had a suggestion, I need to find a some kind of contain I can carry around with me (empty of course) and then fill it up to flush when I need to.   Good idea, so my hunt for a contain that folds away nicely but can carry at least 2 litres begins - anything suggestions welcome !  

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DAY ONE 01/09/2015

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DAY ONE 01/09/2015

Today I started living on 15 litres of water a day for one year, it feels like an epic challenge.  The night before I had marked all the bottles in litres, so I could measure how much water I used and to make sure I didn’t go over.  This morning when I woke up I had that, first day of school feeling.  Like I was going to the be the only new one who didn’t know the ropes.  I was right in both of those things, I was the only one doing this and I have yet to get hold of the ropes, the good thing is I don’t have to make friends at the same time ! 

My first water usage breakfast, a smoothie. Which only used like 0.30 litres of water.  The tap was dripping, so I put a pan under it to collect for some washing up water.  Then I filled a 2 litre bottle of water to take to work with me, as my drinking water.  Although I didn’t managed to drink it all, I used some of it the scrub the floor, (we are under going a refurbishment at the theatre I was cleaning the floors, but gave up once I knew I could do it due to my water situation) make a 100ml bottle of anti-bac hand spray and to make a cup of tea with.  I did all that with 2 litres, what !? I didn’t flush, any toilets but had the fear overtime I realised my have was reaching for the flush without me realising, this happened twice ! 

I think this will be one of the hardest things to control, by physical habits.  I have to admit I turned a tap on twice for half a second, due to this habitual montion.  Not cool I know, don’t worry I will be taking 0.5 litres out of tomorrows usage as punishment.  

My shower was underwhelming and cold.  I had the great idea of getting a sponge and standing in a bucket with my 3 litres in the bottom.  My feet were really hot but the rest of me was not.  Need to replay how I am to shower, because in the winter months I just won’t, if it means I get a cold every time I clean myself.   

My friend Carla suggested I made my own hand sanitiser, which I did. 

I used Tea Tree oil is anti bacterial and Lavender is anti - viral put them together and got a lethal anti everything hand spray, that doesn’t have loads of horrible smelling chemicals in it - BOOM ! So my hand definitely wont smell, or get me ill.   

That was pretty much my first day on the 15 litre life style, I didn’t use all 15 litres and I managed to eat, drink wash and be merry.  Maybe this isn’t going to be that hard after all. 

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Rules of 15 litres water challenge.

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Rules of 15 litres water challenge.

THE CHALLENGE – Existing on 15 litres of water / day.

Rationale

“Demonstrate that society has become disconnected with the water that we consume through living on 10% of a typical UK consumer’s water requirements.”

Plan

  • Start on 1 September 2015 and end on 1st of September 2016; saving water for a year.

Rules

1 - Chloe must live on 15 litres of drinking water (or less) each day. This includes mains water supplies and bottled water.

2 -  “Other liquid” can be drunk each day – e.g. juices, sodas, beer, wine etc. but these must be recorded and count towards the 15 litre total.

3 - Chloe is allowed to supplement water from other resources as she wishes. e.g. rain water, grey water or wet wipes for quick 'showers'. 

4 - Over the year new resource will be investigated and its applicability will be discussed on the blog / video.

5 - Following this “research” Chloe will be entitled to utilise the newly investigated resource as well as her 15 litres. (e.g. the task gets easier as Chloe becomes more water savvy). E.g. During September we learn about rainwater reuse – and on October 1st we implement a system to enable Chloe to use this.

6 - Chloe must record actual water usage each day and specify what was used for what. This record should be entered straight into a database or excel spreadsheet for ease of analysis.

7 - Water can be accrued within a week. i.e. if you use 50litres between Monday and Saturday, you can use the remaining 55litres on Sunday. 

8 - All alternative water resources should be deemed hazardous to health and caution must be taken in how these water resources are used and interacted with. Rainwater (rain caught from a roof), Greywater (water recovered from a shower outlet, bath outlet or sink outlet), river water, groundwater, desalination water etc all have potential health risks associated with them as they may contain bacteria, or other harmful contaminants. They should never be ingested.

 

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Why are you doing this ?

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Why are you doing this ?

A lot of people have ask me 'why are you doing this ?' And this is the best question, because it makes me think, yeah why am I doing this ?  For me there are two personal reasons why. One, I want to use my experience doing this challenge to inspire a show that will have a focus on environmental issues.  I think to make a show like this, especially one that captures the audiences imaginations and encourages them to think, or even to change their behaviour I have to be able to speak from a place of authenticity.  The phase, actions speak louder than words has been my mini mantra for a few years, so this challenge is part of that mantra becoming a reality and not just an idealistic phase that sits in my thoughts as an aspiration.   The second reason is link closely to this ‘mantra’ I want to take back some of the feelings I have around the real threat of climate change.  I am tired of feeling like I can’t do anything about it, that the world is screwed already and we have missed the tipping point of no return.  This maybe true and my actions may not have any direct effect on the future of this planet, but I want to know that when I leave this place I tried my hardest to live in a way that didn't disrespect and destroy the beauty and abundance of my home.   But I guess these are also answer that you’d expect from a Green voting middle class, child of parents from the 60’s.  So for some really hard facts and evidence of WHY changing our behaviour around water, there are some useful links below (which I hope will start you on your own journey into gaining more knowledge about water).  The links should give you a better and wider context to the urgency of the water crisis we could/are facing today and WHY I would encourage you, as an individual to take some actions towards using less water in your daily routines, click HERE for some tips.  I think it is imperative for us as a race to reclaim the power we have to make a difference and not be discourage by the vastness of the climate change ‘problem’. We need to see it as an opportunity to use our creativity and inventiveness to adapt and change to a more planet friendly way of living.  Actions speak louder than words. 

Ok facts and figures for the realists out there, without whom I’d be living on a cloud choking to death on my non oxygenated ideas. 

 

Useful links // things you should know about water and WHY it is so important to cherish this precious life giving and sustaining liquid.  

Also please add any links you find in the comments box I always want to know more ! 

Some general info on water consumption 

http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/average-daily-water-usage

http://everylittledrop.com.au/knowledge-center/water-consumption-around-the-world/

http://www.unwater.org/downloads/Water_facts_and_trends.pdf 

 

Films/Documentaries/Visual info

http://www.carbonvisuals.com/projects/sw-water (southwest water) 

http://www.theguardian.com/science/video/2015/may/28/water-strangest-chemical-universe-explainer-video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjSUg6JsLYw (USA) 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHWqLrMI_iI (2008)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBSI6Du2yhk (2006)

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A bit of background...

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A bit of background...

Around a year ago I was watching a David Attenborough documentary while eating my dinner and discovered a fact that blew my mind. David said, ‘All the water that is on earth has been the same water since the beginning of time’.  I must have heard this fact before, most probably at school, but for some reason I had made it all the way to the ripe age of 28 before I could really comprehend it.  I was thrown into wonderment and awe for this incredible planet of ours and felt elated at just how amazing it is.  I was drinking water that could have passed through a dinosaur millions of years ago.  WTF.  From this moment on my thirst and passion to know more about water, to explore it and my own relationship with it grew.  I also knew I had to make a show that was inspired by this fact but wasn’t sure where to start.   

As I had no real knowledge of water, water systems and how it all works I decided, with advice from Katie Villa, to find an ‘expert’ who I could talk to, to get a foundation of knowledge around water.  I met with Peter Melville-Shreeve - an academic researcher at Exeter University - whose focus is on rainwater harvesting.  And through conversations and questioning each other's chosen practise (art - science) we came up with the idea that I’d do a durational ‘experiment’ that would inform my creative process on the show and also aid his own research.  It was important to both of us that the experiment task incorporated a clear environmental focus too, we came up with ‘15 litres of water’. 

I would live off 15 litres of potable water a day for a year.  This amount will cover all my watery needs from showering to watering my plants.  Why 15 litres ? Well apparently in the UK we use between 135 and 150 litres of potable water a day as individuals, so 15 litres is approx 10% of that amount.  Why 10%?  It’s a nice round number, and will be enough of a challenge to significantly shift my habitual usage of water within my days, but just enough to not make it impossible.  I will also be able to add to my usage by harvesting rain water and river water and re-using any water that would normally go down the sink, mainly from my housemates’ washing up. I have learnt this is known as grey water.  

Peter and I will be working closely over the year to find ways around any issues I come across.  He will help me to install rain water harvesting equipment into my flat so I can collect rain effectively, which I can then use for flushing my toilet/watering my plants etc…

This is very much a personal challenge and I am excited about what lies ahead and eager to experience how my relationship with water changes and grows.  One thing that feels important as part of this project is to offer the chance for others to get involved in this exploration, through Litres for Life

Together we can make a difference to our collective habitual water wastage. 

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