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Water Insecurity; My own experience.

Updated: Apr 13


Lack of drinking water is a poverty related issue that is so well known it's almost lost it's impact. Right? We hear about children walking miles to collect drinking water from a young age. We hear of charities putting in new wells, to promote water security is remote regions.

We hear so much and it's such an engrained issue that it's sometimes easy to forget that lack of water security is still impacting a HUGE percentage of our planet.

"Two-thirds of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year." Mekonnen and Hoekstra 2016.

Most people in the Western world, go to their tap and receive very high quality delicious drinking water. I grew up in England, with this luxury too. I spent my childhood aware of the children in Africa who walk to collect their water. When I gradauted University I worked on a conservation project that we had to collect our own water from the well and filter it. It was eye opening and certainly much harder life than much of the Western world even realise exists. But we had a pretty constant and easy to reach supply of water, for free, when we needed it.


However, in The Philippines, our water situation has been a bit different. On Malapascua there is no drinking water on tap. Being a tourist here you may not notice this. Resorts have their supplies bought over from the mainland and conveniently for your hydration. But being indepednant here, we have been thrown well and truly into the deep end with water supply, pun unintended.

And I have found the hard way, what a huge impact lack of water security and having to collect water has on brain function and processing. It's very limiting. A part of each day is purely dedicated to considering water supply, what can be cooked with how much water is left and a ration for the rest of the day. Figuring out when to collect water depending on the heat.

We use 5 gallon water bottles. We buy one for 50 pesos a bottle about every four to five days. Walking to and from the shop takes about 15 minutes in total. The bottles are incredibly heavy for me. Lee doesn't struggle as much- but if I need water and Lee is at work, I still NEED water and it's tough luck for me and I have to carry it back.

We have run out without realising a few times. This is sh*t. Especially if the shop is shut, or it's midday and scorching hot.

We have had to be extremely mindful of our water use. Every part of drinking and cooking in the day is considered around water. If we are low, we don't cook pasta, which uses a lot of water. We have to make considerate and thought out decisions to eating and meals. I have found this has directly limited by productivity. There is a part of my brain newly dedicated to planning and considering simply water.

Normally, I would work, get a glass of water from the sink and continue brainstorming an issue. There is a limitation, less freedom, to being tied to a water source, if it is limited. You have to constantly remember to take a bottle (standard, I know) but many places won't refill your bottle- their water supply is precious too,

And much of the planet lives like this. They have to constantly plan their existence around water, especially in the hot regions. This process hinds life in many practical ways as well as limiting decision making processing. Living without water security is tough practically and mentally.

We are EXTREMELY lucky to have incredible quality drinking water on TAP! Next time you leave the tap on, or buy a bottle, think of the resources that have gone into that process. The luxury you may have to simply have a glass of safe drinking water and how that may let you THRIVE in your life. How can you also reduce your impact on said resources? Can you act in a very simple grateful manner, that will simply help you be a little happier and healthier?



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