everywhere - but do we have to drink it all?
Only 3% of the world's water is drinkable. The rest is either
contaminated, or seawater, or both.
In terms of volume, 75% of your bonce is made up of water. Water also
figures large in terms of body tissue. It plays a vital role in supplying
oxygen to cells, as well as temperature regulation, waste removal and the
everyday running of all major organs. Without it, you're biscuit.
"Ensure that you take
at least seven to eight cups of water daily. Water cleanses your
internals. This also ensures that stones do not form inside your kidneys
because water goes to the kidneys and constantly keeps itflushed."-Baba
You can go about four weeks without food, but only three days without
water. (See:"I feel no need
for food and water")
For maximum health, experts reckon you should drink approximately two
litres of water (eight glasses) each day. Coffee and booze don't count,
because both have a diuretic effect on the body. Caffeine and alcohol both
serve to squeeze water from cells, which means you lose more fluid than
you take on board.
If you wait until you're thirsty before you reach for that glass, then
you're already dehydrated and the damage is done.
When the body is dehydrated, it often sends out signals that are misread
as hunger pangs. Mild dehydration actually slows down body metabolism, so
you're losing out on two counts if you let your water intake slip.
A little dehydration can leave you feeling tired as well as messing with
your short-term memory. Start to feel a bit parched, and simple mental
tasks could seem like a massive Jedi mind challenge.
It's advisable for pregnant women to increase their daily water intake to
meet the needs of the developing foetus. Mothers who breastfeed should
also keep spinning the cold tap to replace fluid used in milk production.
I feel no need for food and
Mataji Prahlad Jani
"I feel no need for food and water" -- Sri Mataji Prahlad Jani
(who has survived several decades without food or water)
Fasting fakir flummoxes physicians
By Rajeev Khanna
BBC correspondent in Ahmedabad
Doctors and experts are baffled by an Indian hermit who claims not to have
eaten or drunk anything for several decades - but is still in perfect
Mr Prahlad Jani under surveillance in hospital. [photo caption]
Prahlad Jani, a holy man, or fakir, who is over 70 years old, has just
spent 10 days under constant observation in Sterling Hospital, in the
western Indian city of Ahmedabad.
During that time, he did not consume anything and "neither did he pass
urine or stool", according to the hospital's deputy superintendent, Dr
Yet he is in fine mental and physical fettle, say doctors.
Most people can live without food for several weeks, with the body drawing
on its fat and protein stores. But the average human can survive for only
three to four days without water.
Followers of Indian holy men and ascetics have often ascribed
extraordinary powers to them, but such powers are seldom subject to
"A series of tests conducted on him show his body mechanism is that of a
normal person," said Dr Desai.
Mr Jani spends most of his time in a cave near the Ambaji temple in
"He has never fallen ill and can continue to live like this" -- Bhiku
Prajapati, Mr Jani's devotee
He spent his 10 days in hospital in a specially prepared room, with a
sealed-off toilet and constant video surveillance.
To help the doctors verify his claims, Mr Jani agreed to avoid bathing for
his time in hospital.
The only fluid he was allowed was a small amount of water, to use as
One hundred millilitres of water were given to him, and then collected and
measured in a beaker when he spat it out, to make sure none had been
A statement from Ahmedabad's Association of Physicians says that despite
no water entering his body, urine nonetheless appeared to form in his
bladder - only to be re-absorbed by the bladder walls.
Hungry for blessings: Mr Jani receives a devotee in hospital [photo
At the end of his confinement, doctors noted no deterioration in his
condition, other than a slight drop in his weight.
"I feel no need for food and water," says Mr Jani, who claims he was
blessed by a goddess at the age of eight and has lived in caves ever
He grew up in Charod village in Mehsana district and wears the dress of a
devotee of the goddess Ambaji - a red sari-like garment, nose ring,
bangles and crimson flowers in the hair.
He also wears the vermilion "tika" mark on his forehead, more often seen
on married Hindu women.
His followers call him "mataji" or goddess.
He says he has survived several decades without food or water because of a
hole in his palate.
Drops of water filter through this hole, he says, sustaining him.
"He has never fallen ill and can continue to live like this," said Bhiku
Prajapati, one of Mr Jani's many followers.
"A hole in the palate is an abnormal phenomenon," says Dr Desai.
His colleague, Dr Urman Dhruv, told the BBC a full medical report is being
prepared on Mr Jani's 10 days under observation.
Doctors say they cannot verify his claim to have not eaten or drunk for
decades - but by observing his feat under laboratory conditions, they hope
to learn more about the human body.
It is likely that doctors will want to examine Mr Jani again in order to
solve the medical mystery he has presented them with.
numerous, simple ways that you can help conserve water both at home and at
work. Click on the links below to learn more or contact your local water
Home Water Efficiency Tips
Tips for Home
About 45% of a household's total water consumption takes place in the
bathroom: 27% of indoor per capita water use is attributed to the toilet,
2% is used by the bath and 17% is used by the shower. Hardware retrofits
are the best way to realize long-term savings. By changing some hardware,
you can save hundreds of gallons each month in the bathroom alone. Here
are some key conservation tips for reducing water use in your bathroom:
Install a low flow showerhead
The shower accounts for approximately 20% of indoor water use, and 30% to
40% of hot water use. Older showerheads put out water at a rate of 4.5 to
8 gallons per minute (gpm).
Low-flow models operate at a range of 1.5 to 2.5 gpm. Low-flow showerheads
are available in a wide range of flow characteristics, so it should be
possible to find a model that suits you.
Consumer Reports February 1995 issue has an excellent comparison of
different models. Use a wrench or pliers to unscrew the old showerhead.
You may wrap a layer of Teflon tape around the threads. Then screw on the
new showerhead. Use the shut-off valve behind the head to shut off the
water while soaping up without loosing the water temperature when the
water is turned on again.
Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower.
Set a timer, and keep the shower hot for every family member. Shortening
your shower by five minutes can save 20 to 40 gallons of water per shower.
Installing a low flow showerhead with a shut-off valve can save you even
In the shower, a lot of water can be wasted while soaping up. Wet down,
turn off the water, soap up and the turn the water on for rinsing.
Reuse Bath Water
Try washing both of your youngsters in the same tub of water if they are
not too dirty. This saves water and can be fun for the kids. Re-use bath
water for plants and for heavy cleaning jobs.
Check Your Toilet for Leaks
A well-maintained toilet can mean big water savings. Usually, a 100-gallon
a day toilet leak is not very noticeable. Put a few drops of food coloring
or toilet tablets in the tank and wait for 15 minutes. If the water in the
bowl changes color, then you have a leak. A bad leak can send thousands of
gallons silently down the drain. Silently, that is, until you receive your
DO NOT use a brick in your toilet tank - it may disintegrate and cause
problems in your lines. Instead, consider installing a low-flow toilet
that uses 1.6 gallons per flush.
Install an Ultra Low-flush Toilet (ULFT)
If you have an older style toilet, you could be using up to 40% of your
indoor water use in toilet flushing. Older model toilets will use between
3.5 and 7 gallons per flush. ULFTs are proven technology and only use 1.6
gallons per flush.
Over 50,000 ULFTs are in service in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Most models
work very well, with no special problems. Consumer Reports February 1995
issue has an excellent comparison of many different models of ULF toilets.
Often they out perform the old style toilets that they are replacing.
A high quality ULFT can be purchased for approximately $100 - $150.
Install a Toilet Dam or Other Retrofit Device
Consult with a reputable hardware or plumbing retailer before choosing a
toilet retrofit device. To work properly, the device must be compatible
with your toilet, and it must be properly installed. Some retrofit devices
work, while others do not and can actually waste water. Before purchasing
a retrofit device, take into account the economics and the condition of
your toilet. Purchasing a ULFT may prove more cost effective in the long
Keep Trash Out of the Toilet
Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of
trash down the toilet, you waste five to seven gallons of water. Use the
wastebasket for disposing of trash.
Turn off the Water While Brushing Your Teeth
When brushing your teeth, only turn the water on to wet the brush. Make
sure to turn it off when brushing. Fill a glass to rinse your mouth and
wash the brush. This can mean the difference between using a pint of water
and wasting several gallons.
Rinse Your Razor in the Sink.
Before shaving, partially fill the sink with warm water. This will rinse
the blade just as well and use less water.
Install a Faucet Aerator
Water conserving faucet aerators are available in sizes ranging from
approximately 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm) to 2 gpm. Low-flow aerators mix
air with the water to make an effective spray pattern. Older lavatory
faucets typically operate at 7 gpm, and most new models operate at 3.5
gpm. So by installing a low-flow aerator you can save a lot of water.
Aerators are also available that can be turned on and off with the flick
of a finger. Those types of aerators are great for lavatory basins because
they are easy to use and they save water during teeth brushing, shaving,
To change your aerator, unscrew the old aerator or screen with a pair of
pliers and thread on the new one. Tighten just enough to prevent leaks
from the threaded connection.
Low flow aerators mix air with the water to make an effective spray
pattern. Some old style faucets will not accept an aerator. You can reduce
the flow at these faucets by turning down the angle stop that is located
under the basin. However, the spray pattern will not be as nice as with an
aerator. Those old style basin faucets should be replaced since they use
the most water.
The kitchen is an excellent place for conservation. Diswhashers account
for about 2% of residential, indoor water use, while faucets account for
another 16%. Be especially conscious of running water and develop the
habit of shutting off the tap whenever possible.
Be Water Wise When Washing Dishes
Before scrubbing your pots and pans, wash them first. Instead of running
water continuously, fill wash and rinse basins with water. Use a minimum
amount of detergent. Add vinegar (1/4 to 1/2 cup) to dishwater to prevent
grease from clinging to dishes, pots and pans.
Presoak grills, oven parts, etc., overnight. Wash with an abrasive scrub
brush or pad and use plenty of elbow grease to minimize water use.
Run Full Loads of Dishes
When using the dishwasher, make sure it is fully-loaded. It also helps to
use a water saving model. Some dishwashers use up to 25 gallons of water a
cycle while newer models may use only 10 gallons. If you are buying a new
dishwasher, shop around to find the machines that use less water per cycle
and are more efficient.
Many automatic dishwashers do not require rinsing dishes before loading
the machine, but if yours does, pond water in the sink and soak them.
Reduce Evaporation When Cooking
Boiling requires very little water if you use a tight fitting lid to
By steaming you can save all the vitamins and minerals, too. But if you do
boil vegetables, save the water for soups and sauces... they will be
tastier and more nutritious.
Save Tap Water by Planning Ahead
Remove ice cubes from the freezer a few minutes before you need the ice.
The cubes will loosen at room temperature and will save several quarts of
water if they are not run under the tap.
Don't quick-thaw meats under the faucet either. Take frozen foods out of
the freezer in time to thaw naturally.
Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This ends the
wasteful practice of running tap water to cool it off for drinking.
Use the Garbage Disposal Less
Throw out or compost fruit and vegetable scraps. If you feel it's
necessary to use the garbage disposal, save all the peelings until the end
of cleanup time, and use the dishwasher to help flush them down the drain.
Install a Hot Water On-demand System
Installing a hot water on-demand system if the kitchen and bathroom are
far from the water heater can save water. If you choose to install such a
system, select a system that is energy neutral. An on-demand system that
requires a constantly running recirculating pump may save a little water,
but it will waste a lot of energy.
Install a Shut-off Valve on Your Reverse Osmosis (RO) Filter System
Typically a home RO unit will waste 14 gallons a day in reject water
(water that does not pass through the RO membranes, but is passed into the
drain). Some RO units waste as much as 40 gallons a day. If you have an RO
unit, make sure that it is equipped with an automatic shut-off valve. If
it needs a shutoff valve, contact the dealer where you purchased the unit.
The industry has made some efforts to make retrofit valves available.
Properly Schedule Self-regenerating Water Softeners
Self-regenerating water softeners typically use from 35 to 140 gallons of
water per cycle. There are many units on the market that feature
water-saving technology. However, systems that use over 100 gallons of
water per cycle are still being sold. The water use can be reduced by
careful scheduling of regeneration cycles on clock-controlled models. It
should be set to cycle no more than twice a week. Modern units will have a
water meter or hardness sensor to control regeneration. That way, soft
water is produced only as it is needed, and regeneration is usually more
infrequent than clock controlled regeneration.
Approximately 22% of all water used in the home is used in the washing
machine, so even a small investment of time and money can pay off in the
Use the Right Amount of Water for the Load
Washing machines use 30-55 gallons per load. Use the load selector to
match the water level to size of the load. If there is no selector, wash
only full loads.
Presoak heavily soiled items and always use a minimum amount of detergent.
For many laundry and household cleaning jobs, a low-sudsing, biodegradable
detergent will result in cleaner rinse water which can be used again.
Install a Horizontal-axis Washing Machine
Front-loading horizontal-axis machines use 1/3 less water than top-loading
vertical-access machines. The standard top-loader uses from 35-55 gallons
per load, whereas a front loader will use from 25-30 gallons per load.
As well as saving water, the front-loading machines also save energy.
Front-loading machines still cost more than the U.S. standard top-loading
models, but the price will continue to fall as they become more available
and the demand increases. Click here for more information on
horizontal-axis washing machines.
Wash Your Car Without a Hose
When washing your car, use a hose nozzle and a bucket. Use a nozzle on the
garden hose to regulate water and turn it off when you're putting soap on
a car. Better yet, take your car to a car wash that recycles water and
prevents the runoff of soapy water into our creeks and ocean.
Use a Broom - Not the Hose
Sweep off sidewalks, driveways, patios, tennis courts, etc. with a broom
or rake to remove leaves, clippings and debris. Don't hose off!!
Check Your Hose
Make sure hose connections are tight in order to prevent water loss.
Cover Your Pool
Keep the water level low to minimize splashing and install a pool cover in
order to reduce water loss from evaporation.
Teach Your Children that Your Hose and Sprinkler are Not Toys
Few things are more cheerful than the sound of children playing under a
hose or sprinkler on a hot day. Unfortunately, there are also few things
more wasteful of precious water