by Stella Salguero-Ramirez
Showering is no longer a soothing experience for me. I used to think in the shower, sing in the shower; sometimes I would even fall asleep in the shower. Now the only thing that keeps circulating my mind is “why did I even do that?” We all do it. We’re all guilty of falling into the trap of a warm, enticing, pore-opening experience, but when we realize that many people in the world don’t have this luxury, why exploit it? Becoming aware of how much water we use on a daily basis is crucial. It all depends on the showerhead you’re using, but on average we’re using around 3-5 gallons a MINUTE! I know some people that love to take hour-long showers! The people of Niger would be horrified to see all of that priceless water disappearing down the drains of our showers. While we can’t send any water that we conserve to West Africa, being conscientious and acknowledging that water is a precious gift is so important because while we are fortunate to live in a country where we have safe, clean water in abundance, it is not an inexhaustible resource.
Whenever we drill a well, we teach the people living in the village how to make use of every droplet of water. Water is scarce, and every single drop counts. One of the ways we do this is by teaching them that the water that has been used for washing should not be discarded because while it is no longer potable, it can still serve a valuable purpose. This use of greywater, the water collected from hand washing stations, dish washing, and other household washing, is essential in drought-ridden West Africa. In every village where we drill, we teach the villagers how to use this greywater to nurture their gardens using the technique of drip water irrigation. This simple form of technology increases the efficiency of water usage and produces incredible benefits. This system relies on simple buckets or trash bins- to act as water reservoirs- and drip tape, which is placed between every other row of crops. The drip tape is attached to the water source, and allows for low-pressure water to trickle down to the soil, nourish the vegetation, and ultimately deliver produce that is packed with nutritious benefits to supplement the villagers’ diets.
The next time you are tempted to linger in the shower, take a moment to reflect on the value of this resource that we so often take for granted. Better yet, challenge yourself to take shorter showers, and make a donation to Wells Bring Hope for every day that you don’t reach your goal!