Water For Life: What does water cost us?

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In many developing countries there are no convenient water taps, and it is the task of women and children to fetch water.

Some have to walk for hours every day just to get enough water for their family’s daily needs. This uses valuable time, that could be used to increase education and skills, and raise the standard of living. The effort required for such treks can also burn up to half the calories required in a healthy person’s diet.

Often, young children are taken out of school to help with the village water carrying duties. They have to walk to the water source and then carry the heavy water containers home. This can result in damage to their young bodies.

The average person needs to drink around 3 litres of water a day to maintain their health. More water is needed for cooking, cleaning and washing up. The average woman in a developing country is able to carry 15-22 litres of water a trip, but childrenwill carry much less.
(Used with permission of Girl Guides of Canada, Water for Tomorrow Series, Canadian Guider).


Buckets, Water


Get the girls to measure 15 litres of water into a bucket or buckets. See who can lift this much water and walk some distance with it. Be careful with smaller girls, giving them smaller amounts to carry.
See how far each girl can carry the water without spilling any or before they start to feel uncomfortable. Ask them what it would be like to carry this water every day for three or four hours, every day of the week.


  • water
  • water activity

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