Water consumption (2) by Tiffany Ong

A few years ago, my kids were taking very long showers. I wanted a way to explain to them how important water is and should be used sparingly but in a very simplified way that they could relate, understand and empathise with, so some elements and concepts might not be completely accurate. I was inspired by a lot of the data comics others were sharing and wanted to make something that had a similar feel.

I asked them to think about the ways they used water at home and we narrowed it down to 4 scenarios:
- Showering
- Washing hands
- Laundry
- Flushing the toilet

I asked them how many times or how long they thought they did each activity, and we wrote them down. With laundry it was the amount of clothes they would wash a week and converted roughly into the load per day.

Silvia was 4 years old. She was the one in our household that took the longest showers, used the most clothes at the time so I had to think of a way for her to understand the impact of excess water use. I told her the water came from the sea and if she used too much, the animals in the sea would not have enough water to live and play in. She was very interested in drawing so I asked her to draw the four scenarios and the sea which she did independently with enthusiasm, annotating each piece after. I photographed the drawings and put them together in Photoshop, placed the sea drawing at the top and added some blocks of blue shades to depict water flowing from the sea into the home. She chose the font, and I added the text and numbers.

The showers after were incredibly quick and it became a bit of a race on who could have the shortest ones but unfortunately after a few weeks they didn’t seem to care much anymore and reverted back. But I hope they will hold the memory of this project we did together and grow to understand and appreciate the value of water better as they grow older.