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How many times a day do you turn on the water from the faucet?

Indonesia, January 23, 2011

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    Children in the camp at KM 37 collecting water. Photo: Sara Velasquez/Mercy Corps Photo: indo_water_svelasquez_011801.jpg

If you really noticed, how many times would it be?

If I think about my actions, based on how I behaved at home in New Zealand, I would say probably 50 times a day. Fifty times sounds like a lot, but I think I'm actually being conservative. Seriously, think about when you are cooking dinner and how many vegetables you wash, or if you wash you hands… just a quick turn of the tap and VOILA! Glorious water!

Now think about how many litres of water you drink per day — cups of water, tea or coffee, how many times you flush the toilet, how many times you wash your hands, or you wash your clothes, or you take a shower.

Tally up all the times you use the tap. I bet you’d lose count, because it is just something that you do without even considering. It has just been something that has always been there.

Today, I learned that the people in the IDP camps get one bucket of water per day.

A truck pumps water from the river at one end of the island, and then distributes it to the IDP camps along the road, so that each household has a maximum of a small bucket of water. One bucket of water, split between five people… but the reality could be even more people are sharing that limited amount. That’s water to bathe, “flush” the toilet, clean, wash food, cook, drink.

Can you imagine being limited to only one small bucket of water, AND having to share that with at least two other adults and two children?

The immensity of the limitations is overwhelming. Mercy Corps is looking at solutions to help provide the people in the IDP camps with more water. It is so needed.