Henry Garrard challenged himself to use only 20 litres of water a day to raise awareness and money for the 663m people lacking access to clean water across the world.
The Wycliffe College pupil was inspired to take on the three-day challenge after discovering that many people in the world live on the same quantity of water used in a 1.5 minute shower.
Each Briton uses about 150 litres of tap water a day. If the amount included all the products people use then the total consumption rockets to about 3,400 litres. Henry used to think nothing of standing under a power shower, but now he has discovered first hand what it is like to not have water on tap.
Henry spent three days using just 20 litres, collecting it for himself each morning from the nearest clean water source. The Year 8 pupil walked three kilometres to a spring in Chalford and carried the daily allowance the same distance back home.
‘I carried ten litres in my rucksack and then two five-litre bottles in my hand,’ Henry explained. ‘On average, someone in Africa walks six kilometres a day to get water and return home with it.’
The water challenge
The water was half the 13-year-old’s body weight. By the third day he decided to use a wheelbarrow to transport it home.
All his drinking, cooking and cleaning water had to come out of the 20 litres. He borrowed his dad’s camping kettle to boil the water for ten minutes so that it was safe to drink and cooked for himself on a homemade camp stove. At the end of the day he would use what was left over to have a flannel wash.
‘The hardest part of the challenge was to carry the water and then wash in a centimetre of water when you really wanted a power shower. It felt like I was washing up in a puddle with a flannel,’ he said.
‘Now when I turn on a tap I think about how much water is being wasted and I make sure that I am more careful,’ he said.
His project was part of Wycliffe’s annual Kirby Challenge which asks pupils to complete an activity that benefits the community or school.
Mr Adrian Palmer, Wycliffe Prep Headmaster, said: ‘The “Kirby Challenge” award was developed to prepare Year 8 pupils for the transition to the senior school.
‘Henry’s imaginative and difficult project embraces the spirt of the challenge. He has pushed himself but also helped the community by raising more than £540 for WaterAid.’
READ MORE: How Schools are Giving Back to the Community