My 1 Day on 10 Litres Diary

My 1 Day on 10 Litres Diary

If you’re on social media, you would have seen that World Water Day on Tuesday 22nd March sparked a real frenzy in the Twittersphere as well as on Instagram and Facebook. Posts and pics supporting the Giorgio Armani worldwide Acqua for Life initiative filled the feeds, offering water-saving tips and inspiration throughout the day as water-conscious participants took up the challenge of #1Dayon10liters

I went into the challenge – armed with my Armani Acqua for Life jerry can – thinking I had a very clear plan as to exactly what I would need water for on the day. I was amazed by the things I had forgotten or not anticipated, but I also discovered some great tips for saving water and repurposing used water along the way. You can check out my earlier post to read more about the AFL initiative and see how I planned to use my 10 litres. All didn’t quite go according to plan.

Morning – at home

Ψ Litres 1.7

100ml drink before my run

100ml drink after my run

1.5 litres to wash my hair, face and body

Shower time

Washing my hair the biggest challenge but I was determined to give it a go to prove that it could be done. I filled a 1.5 litre water bottle and used some to wet my hair (which in turn wet my face and body) allowing me to apply face wash, shower gel and shampoo. I used a few more splashes of water to help lather up the shampoo and even managed a second shampoo after only partially rinsing my hair. By the time I had rinsed my hair, most of the face wash and body wash was gone and I used the last bit of water to rinse areas that still needed it.

Ψ Water saving tip Rather than conditioning (which would have used even more water for rinsing) I chose to apply a leave-in product – L’Oréal Professionnel Série Expert Color 10 in 1 Perfecting Multipurpose Spray (R295) to nourish my hair post-wash. You can also save water (and time) by dry shampooing your hair in between washes, something I do often using Batiste Dry Shampoo (R69,95).

Hair tips

I also saved water (and time) by brushing my teeth in the shower using a few sips of water to rinse my mouth. I often brush my teeth in the shower on hair wash days while waiting for conditioner to sink in.

Ψ Water saving tip Switch off the tap (or shower) when brushing your teeth. A decent brush should take two minutes and there is so much water that goes down the drain if you leave a tap on.


Morning – at the office

Ψ Litres 0.3

200ml to make my vitamin C drink

Vitamin drink

100ml to wash my hands at the office

I was very surprised by how much water is actually wasted washing and rinsing my hands, so I experimented to see how little water I could get by with for this. I managed to make do with just 100ml, using a tiny bit to wet my hands before lathering and then rinsing them sparingly hand by hand (one is needed to hold the water bottle of course) and bit by bit.

Ψ Water saving tip While hand-washing is an essential hygiene practice, you can save water by using a waterless antibacterial hand sanitizer during the day after things like business meetings, preparing lunch, unpacking boxes, between catching public transport and while at the shops. I used Crabtree & Evelyn Gardeners Antibacterial Moisturising Hand Gel to get through my day with fewer unnecessary washes.

Crabtree hand sanitiser

Lunchtime – at home

Ψ Litres 0.5

100ml to wash my hands

200ml to wash vegetables for my lunch platter

200ml to drink with my lunch

Lunch prep

Have you ever thought about how much water you actually use to wash fruit and vegetables at mealtimes? It’s actually rather astounding. I decided to give myself just 200ml of water to wash the vegetables I needed, and did this using a bowl.

Ψ Water saving tip Don’t just run the tap every time you need to wash vegetables. Pour some water into the sink or a large bowl and use this to rinse tomatoes, cucumber, carrots and more. Remember to wash things like lettuce leaves and spinach last, as these are likely to contain the most grit.


Afternoon – at home

Ψ Litres 0.4

100ml to wash my hands

200ml for the man who came to fix my car

100ml for my car windscreen to test it (I actually cringed when he asked me to do this!)

Ψ Water saving tip Use leftover rinsing water from cleaning fruits and vegetables (as well as water from cooking or steaming veggies) to water your plants.

Water plants

Evening – at home

Ψ Litres 1.8

100ml to wash my hands

200ml for my cat’s water bowl

100ml to wash my vegetables

200ml to use to make my soup

200ml to drink with my supper

1000ml to wash all the dishes and cooking utensils from the day

Ψ Water saving tip If your water takes a while to heat up, use a few empty bottles (such a 2l milk jugs) to save the cold water, rather than letting it run down the drain. Use it for drinking, washing vegetables, watering plants, etc.

Supper prep

Late evening – at home

Ψ Litres 0.5

100ml to wash my hands

200ml to wash my face

200ml to drink before bed

Vichy skin

To freshen up my skin throughout the day I used many spritzes of my Vichy Eau Thermale Thermal Spa Water (R169). I’m obsessed with facial mists and use these to cool and refresh my skin in summer, to hydrate it in winter, and to revive it when travelling.

Ψ Water saving tip Facial wipes are also a brilliant way to cleanse your skin when water is scare (such as when you’re camping or travelling by air). They’re not a regular substitute for the real thing, but great for emergencies. I also love using them to freshen up my hands during the day and my feet before bed. These Cherubs Eco-Care Organic Refreshing Hand & Face Wipes (R8,99 for 10) are brilliant for that, and the best part is they are biodegradable and flushable.

Wet wipes

Speaking of flushing, something I hadn’t really thought about was using a portion of my 10 litres to flush the toilet and it turned out to be far more than I’d thought (and that was only using it once in the day!).

4000ml to flush the toilet at the end of the day

Ψ Water saving tip Install a low flush toilet with an option for a half or full flush to reduce unnecessary water usage. You can also place a large 2l bottle filled with water or even a brick or two into your cistern to reduce the amount of water used for each flush.

Final countdown

I ended the day having used 9,2 litres of water and I was pretty proud of that. I had planned to use the last bit to do some underwear handwashing, but I ran out of time (and energy) rather than water. I honestly can’t imagine having to live like this daily out of need, rather than as part of an experiment and it’s reaffirmed my commitment to saving water any way I can.

Did you take part in the challenge? What was the hardest part and did you discover any water saving tips along the way?

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