Over the course of the summer my daughter has finally learnt to enjoy her baths. She loves to splash in the water and takes her rubber ducky and other toys in the tub with her. Canada’s long winters have meant that she has been taking very short baths so far but now getting her out of the tub is a challenge.
Having close family members in still-developing parts of the world means learning to value lot of things we take for granted. I am privileged to have supply of running water in my house and to even consume 60-70 gallons of water for the baby’s bath and 25 gallons for every 10 minutes in the shower without much thought while my family members in India, live in a place where they get a few hours of water and regular power cuts everyday. How do I make sense of that?
It’s an uncomfortable divide. My nephew and niece take a bucket bath – meaning a bucket full of water is all you get to clean yourself -Adults get a bigger bucket-ful ( that means only 8 gallons bucket for a bath and another 8 gallons if you are shampooing your head. ). Even in the capital city of India, most residences get potable water for only two hours in the morning which needs to be filled into large pots and containers and water for other purposes is stored in an overhead tank. It all translates into very wise and low consumption of water. Not getting water for two-three days on end is a possibility in summers and my mother has such water-austerity measures in place that would put many economic-austerity plans to shame.
Obviously it makes sense to conserve water. The funny thing is that we often pat ourselves in the back by calling this common-sense approach to water consumption as eco-friendly or green lifestyle choice. Funny thing is even in India, where water supply is scarce, big bathtubs are finding their way in big homes as a sign of luxury. The idea being those who can afford to spend will spend. Someone had once remarked that infrastructure and resources like water and electricity are not easily transferrable and since our excess cannot become a supply for someone else’s demands, there is no point in beating ourselves about how and how much we in the west consume. But what I am coming to realize is that any wastage of resources from the ‘have’ end takes away as much from our future as it does from those who ‘don’t have’ these resources. Responsible consumption is in fact right consumption. I know many people have been doing it for years but its never too late to start. To paraphrase an old saying , ” every bucket saved is a bucket earned”. It may not make a huge dent on the environment right away but it can have a positive impact in the long run ( It would most certainly impact on the monthly utility bills and the bank balance!).
As for my daughter, there are other avenues for fun time; playing with water would be limited to spray parks and pools!