Water water everywhere…

4th November 2013

Volunteer on water and sanitation project. Raising awareness of tippy tap and handwashing to school children

This is a guest blog from Alpha 3 who have just completed a project on San Lucas island, working on conserving the natural environment. 

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Being On the island of San Lucas you are surrounded with water all the time. Sea water that is. Fresh water, however, is something quite different. On the island there is a source of fresh water which you can use for cleaning your clothes and yourself, but it's not drinkable. Before you can drink it you first have to pour it into a jerry can, drop a purification tablet into it and then wait half an hour.

As you might have guessed it was a bit of a challenge to get used to this procedure. Especially when you take in mind that the purified water tastes like pool water. But after a few days it became standard procedure and we really started to realise how valuable water is.

Because of the heat on San Lucas it's recommended that one drinks approximately 5 litres a day so the jerry cans get empty really quickly. As a result we only use the water when it's really needed. There is also the jerry can challenge to increase our awareness of our water consumption. everyday one person gets a full jerry can and they have to use it for drinking, washing, a bucket shower and your part in the cooking.

Kirsty, the first member of our team to have completed the jerry can challenge, had a special experience: she had expected it to be easier and thought it would have been less of a challenge to use less water: "I was so surprised of how much water I used because I was really careful with my water use I can't imagine how much I use at home!" She even took a shower in the rain instead of the bucket shower: "maybe I should do that more back at home."

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Luckily for Kirsty we visited San Lucas in the rainy season because in the peak of the dry season it gets so dry that all the trees loose their leaves and the drought causes many animals to lose their lives.

Hearing about how severe the dry season is we really took the message of the water conservation to heart. Despite falling into the routine of living and surviving through the purified water jerry cans, cooking and being able to wash our cooking tools consumed large amounts of water. Just imagine how much water a dishwasher and washing machine consumes in the one go! So when you are sitting at home, don't take water for granted, the people on San Lucas are living on just 5 jerry cans a day.

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To read more about the San Lucas project you can check out the teams previous blog here.