As a species, we take for granted most things. As a western culture, even more. It’s a symptom of the ‘haves’ having that makes it so. Our culture has built itself around the false comforts of certain privileges, freedom, safety; resulting in waste, pollution and consumption that quite literally cannot be sustained. The reality is we’re running out of all the natural resources we rely on, one of which we cannot create and cannot survive without.

As of June 9, 2018, what seemed like a future issue for future generations or the ‘have-nots’ to solve, will become the harsh reality for one city not so different from ‘our own’. Cape Town's apocalyptically named DAY ZERO has been slowly slithering forward elongating the inevitable. Created by over-consumption (of the haves), global warming and a one-in-384 year drought, the city's biggest reservoir system which once looked like a raging sea, has now all but evaporated or been sucked dry. Leading 75% of the city to have their taps turned off, cutting citizen’s access to water. 
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS: Numi Tea // Mud Love 

In a country where, according to Oxfam, the total net wealth of just three billionaires is equivalent to that of the bottom 50% of country’s population, this could be seen as a bit of karma coming to kick the privileged in the butt. But in some of Cape Town’s poorer townships conserving water by using washing water to flush the toilet, using a bucket to shower, or collecting drinking water from a communal tap, has been part of the daily routine for years. It’s is now the privileged who will join in the suffering, a fact considered by many residents to unite the two groups for the first time in the shared realities of humanity. 

Unfortunately, the current situation in Cape Town is only gaining such notice in Western media because it is a problem of the privileged. Currently, 844 million people around the world lack access to clean, safe drinking water. Last year when I wrote about world water day that number was 663 million. According to the United Nations, the cost of bringing clean water and sanitation to every person in the world would be $10 billion dollars. Just for a point of comparison, the US lone plans to spend $686 billion on military this year, $80 billion more than the year previous … 
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS: Jeremiah's Pick Coffee

TOGETHER FOR H2OPE
For most, obtaining clean water consists of multi-kilometre treks numerous times per day. It’s a problem that has been faced by those in the rural areas of developing nations for centuries, and while most westerners have not taken notice, one conscious company has.

Numi Organic Tea created Together for H2OPE, a nonprofit initiative created to assure water access to all who are sheltered by their umbrella of intention, by building or repairing water and sewage infrastructure and administering community-led education in farming communities around the world.

To encourage empathy and understanding, Numi and its partners put it to me and 15 other influencers to attempt to live on a similar amount of water residents of Cape Town, South Africa are limited to, a total freshwater use of 7 gallons per day. I made a diary of my efforts on my Instagram stories throughout the day (which I'll gather up into one video on youtube later) to create a visual of the efforts made.  
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS:: Hand In Hand

MY MEASURE OF PRIVILEGE 

TOILET USE | If it’s yellow, we let it mellow. Our toilet has two flushers, the one for number 1 uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush, the one for number 2 uses 3.5 gallons of water per flush. So just two #2 flushes would be all the water this challenge allots. Though I’m usually to thoughtless and lazy to do this, for the challenge I used our cleaning bucket to gather shower water and flushed the toilet at the end of the day with the captured water instead of flushing throughout the day. Had my husband been home we would have likely used the 2 flusher multiple times and at least 7 gallons of water would have disappeared in a matter of seconds.
ESTIMATED USUAL USE | 7-23 Gallons
AMOUNT USED DURING THIS CHALLENGE | 0 Gallons

TOOTH BRUSHING / HANDWASHING | Having the tap running while brushing our teeth/washing our faces wastes about 6 litres of water per precious minute. Because of my conscious mother, I’ve never been one to let the tap run while brushing, but at the moment we’re using charcoal toothpaste and I use a tongue scraper, both of which require extra water to clean. I put the rinse water from the tap in a measuring cup as I had never measured just how much I use, it turns out I manage to waste 2 cups of water per brush (I brush twice a day) rinsing both apparatus out. 
ESTIMATED USUAL USE | 8 cups per day = 0.60 Gallons
AMOUNT USED DURING THIS CHALLENGE | 4 cups per day = 0.30 Gallons
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS:: Stashers Reusable Bags

SHOWER |  A long hot shower (for which I am guilty of often taking) can use 5 - 10 gallons of water every minute, which is more than the daily allowance set itself. I had been brought up by a mama who put our showers on 5 minute timers, so I already knew of the importance of keeping showers short and turning the water off while I soap up and shave down, but as a Canadian, there’s nothing I hate more than being cold. While my husband and I usually shower together in an effort to conserve water, I admittedly let it run just as long when I’m in there alone . Our landlord installed a “low-flow” shower on our spray shower head, but it still uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. For this challenge, I timed my shower at 60 seconds of total water flow, it was quick and got the job done, but it wasn’t the luxurious waste of water I usually treat myelf to. I used a bucket to capture the water I used in the 60 second shower, it was nearly one full gallon of water and my hair still smells like apple cider vinegar. We don’t have a bath, but a bath uses 35-80 gallons of water alone … meaning one wouldn’t have been possible on this challenge at all. 
ESTIMATED USUAL USE | 75 Gallons 
AMOUNT USED DURING THIS CHALLENGE | 1 Gallon

HYDRATION |  I kept track of how much water and tea I drink throughout the day, today I used the 10 oz MUD LOVE mug I was sent as part of this project (pictured) to measure each drop. From morning to night I drank a total of 80 oz of water and tea which equals 10 cups of water in total. When I make tea / coffee I try to measure out exactly how much water I need to heat so that I don’t waste any water or energy in heating.
ESTIMATED USUAL USE | 10 Cups = 0.75 Gallons
AMOUNT USED DURING THIS CHALLENGE |  10 Cups = 0.75 Gallons
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS: RanJanJi Hat

FOOD PREP / COOKING / HAND WASHING | I had only random foods left in the fridge so I made apple crumble for breakfast, tofu spinach soup and sandwich for lunch and had the same thing for dinner as well. I washed all the veggies and fruit I ate throughout the day in another 3 quarts of water making it a total of 4 quarts used for food throughout the day. I captured the veggie / fruit washing water with the dish cleaning water for reuse. Even though we use biodegradable dish soap, because of the food I cooked the water was mega murky, so it could only be used for a toilet flush. Normally I let all that water just wash down the drain without a thought. 
ESTIMATED USUAL USE | 8 Quarts = 2 Gallons
AMOUNT USED DURING THIS CHALLENGE | 4 Quarts = 1 Gallon

DISHES / CLEANING | We have an energy saving dish washer, which depending on the number of dishes being washed can use less water overall. But as I was home alone all day, I washed it all myself. but I don’t often use it, instead, I wet our dishcloth, add some biodegradable soap, and scrub the dishes without water. I usually do this at the end of the day all at once (letting the dishes pile up, which is easy if you’re working from home alone or with one other human, less simplistic if you have a large family). Once everything is soaped up, I rinse, starting with the larger items and then pouring the rinse water from the larger items on the smaller items, gathering all the rinse water in a bucket. Because our soap is biodegradable and non-toxic, and working my way to the smaller items catching the rinse water which I then use to wipe down the counter tops and other surfaces around the house. I used the excess water for toilet flushing.
ESTIMATED USUAL USE | 5 Gallons
AMOUNT USED DURING THIS CHALLENGE | 3 Gallons
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS: Life Straw

REALITY STRIKES AGAIN
I used 6.05 GALLONS OF WATER with every conscious effort concentrated on conserving it, and I was at home, alone. If I had tried to do laundry, or was cooking or cleaning up after more people than myself, this would have been impossible to do with such little water. For laundry, according to Energy Star, older top-loading machines use around 40 gallons of water to wash a full load of clothes. Newer standard models use as little as 27 gallons, and Energy-Star washers use around 14 gallons of water per wash. You would have to use two days water allowance to do one load if you had the most cutting edge water saving washer. 

The reality is that the issues Cape Town is facing could happen anywhere, including your own city of majority white privilege. While creating access for the large part of the world’s population that lacks water would be a huge step forward, we, the citizens of developed nations also have a responsibility to fight climate change simultaneously. As populations and temperatures rise, fresh water is running out faster than it is being replenished, and in our lifetime, each one of us will likely be asked (or forced) by our governments to reduce our consumption significantly.
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS: Numi Tea // Mud Love 

THE WATERY TRUTH
Between 2000 and 2050 global demand on water is projected to increase by 55%. The majority of that demand is driven by agriculture which currently accounts for 70% of global freshwater use, an industry which projected to increase by 69% by 2035

At the moment, we have no sweeping solutions, but there is hope. 

97.5% is seawater is unfit for human consumption so that strikes DESALINATION as a worldwide solution out. As it is, desalination is a problematic and energy-sucking technology which turns seawater into potable drinking water, while wreaking havoc on local marine life where the salt sucked is shoved back into the sea. But it can help in places of very little rain, so in a selfish sapien emergency, it can be used to save.

RECYCLING EFFLUENT WATER (sewage) for agricultural use has helped Tel Aviv supply over 40% of their agricultural water needs, the waste of which is then sent on to an anaerobic digestion plant which uses the methane as fuel to produce renewable energy. Israel also recaptures 86% of the water that goes down the drain (recycling more water than any other country in the world). 

Similarly, HARVESTING STORMWATER has helped Singapore meets up to 30% of its water needs through rainwater capture, a solution requiring very little investment on single citizen or government level.

There are also systems like SOLAR MICROGRID-POWERED WATER PLANTS which use reverse osmosis and ultraviolet (UV) filtration technologies which can convert hard water into clean drinkable water, a system which has created systematic change in the village of Ugalan, India.
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BRANDS PICTURED WHICH SUPPORT PROGRAMS THAT WORK TOWARD SOLVING THE WORLD WATER CRISIS: Jeremiah's Pick Coffee

HOW YOU CAN HELP
We may not each personally have the power in our hands to transform the regulations and policies which help reduce water scarcity, but we have the choice to recognize our privilege and not abuse it. We need to teach our children, and ourselves, to be mindful about water consumption to prolong the fresh water we currently have access to. 

We can also vote for politicians who care about water reuse, water resource management, water rights, industrial water use, wetland restoration, domestic water supplies, water pollution and water management too. 

And we can support not for profits like Together for H2ope which aim to provide solutions to those forgotten by the apathy our privilege creates.
SPONSORED POST: This post was sponsored by Numi Organic Tea. As per usual, all opinions, facts, content, tone, images, flow and rhetoric are my own direction and creation.