Water! It is something we cannot live without. From drinking to washing, cleaning, and cooking, we need it for the most basic of our needs. But there are people in this world, who lack access to this basic necessity of life. About 2.2 billion people lack access to safe drinking water according to UN statistics.
Knowing that water is such a big blessing and having access to it is a privilege, we should be conscious of how we are using water. Whenever we brush our teeth, wash dishes or drink water, we should remember that this is a gift for us.
What does Quran say?
Whether it is food items or drinking, Quran advices us that we shouldn’t be excessive.
وكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ
… and eat and drink but be not excessiveQuran 7:31
Regarding water, Allah ta’ala says:
“… And we send water down from the sky, in measure, and allocate it on Earth, and lo! We are also able to withdraw it.”Quran 23:18
What does Hadith say?
The first point of accountability on the judgement day will be our blessings. These blessings include health and water.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the first thing a servant will be asked about on the Day of Resurrection will be his blessings. It will be said to him: Have We not given you health in your body and nourished you with cool water to drink?”Tirmidhi 3358
This hadith gives us a reality-check. While we always equate the judgement day with accountability, at times we only think about the acts of worship like salah, fasting, charity. We sometimes don’t remember that we will be questioned about whatever we have in this world and how we used it.
Hadith also tells us that we should be careful of water usage EVEN when we are at a flowing stream.
Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by Sa’d while he was performing ablution. The Prophet said, “What is this excess?” Sa’d said, “Is there excess with water in ablution?” The Prophet said, “Yes, even if you were on the banks of a flowing river.”Sunan Ibn Mājah 425
If we are told to be careful of water usage at a flowing stream, then what about taps and showers? Doesn’t it automatically mean that we should be more careful when dealing with water which reached us with a lot of effort and energy expenditure?
What does statistics tell us?
Following are the facts about water wastage from United States Environmental Protection Agency:
- 180 gallons per week or 9,400 gallons of water per year can be wasted by an average family from household leaks. This amount of water can wash 300 loads of laundry.
- 900 billion gallons of water can be wasted annually nationwide due to leaks. This amount is equivalent to annual water use of 11 billion homes.
- A tap running for 5 minutes can waste 10 gallons of water. It uses enough energy to power a 60-watt light bulb for 18 hours.
How do we waste water? And what we can do about it?
- Leakages: Leakages in the piping and the plumbing architecture can waste a lot of water even if the drip is small.
- What to do: Make sure there are no leakages in your plumbing.
- Toilet: Lots of water is used in the toilet i.e. washing hands, flushing and so on.
- What to do: Don’t flush without any reason. Don’t let water running when not in use.
- Shower: Shower is one of the ways, water can be wastage.
- What to do: Use low-flow fixture. They help limit the water supply. Low-flow shower head uses 2 gallons per minute.
- Faucets: Letting water run while you brush teeth or wash dishes wastes a lot of water.
- What to do: Never let water running when pausing between chores etc.
- Washing Machine: Washing laundry takes up a lot of water as well.
- What to do: Wash full loads. Don’t use a full load for less clothes.
What else we can do?
Apart from saving water and using it wisely, how else we can contribute? One of the ways is giving charity to water projects. We can also participate in awareness campaigns which focus on water conservation.
Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah reported: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, my mother has died. Shall I give charity on her behalf?” The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Yes.” I said, “Which charity is best?” The Prophet said, “A drink of water.”Sunan Nisai 3664
This shows that contributing through money or effort in projects, is charity and it carries reward with it.
EPA. (n.d.) Statistics and Facts. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved from: https://www.epa.gov/watersense/statistics-and-facts
UN Water. (n.d.) Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. UN Water. Retrieved from: https://www.unwater.org/water-facts/water-sanitation-and-hygiene/