Giorgio Armani Acqua for Life: 1 Day on 10 Litres Challenge

Thursday, March 26th 2015 0

With Green Cross International

Over 800 million people worldwide live in water poverty, meaning that they don't have access to clean water. Often they will have to walk for hours every day just to find any water at all, and when they do it is contaminated.

We, on the other hand, have access to as much clean water as we need, not batting an eyelid at the 20 litres of water we use to flush the bathroom or 25 litres we use to run a bath. In developed nations, Green Cross International suggest that we use up to 100 litres of clean water every day.

Giorgio Armani believes that everyone is entitled to clean water. Since 2011, his humanitarian project Acqua for Life has provided over 530 million litres of clean water to almost 80 communities, spanning 7 countries and three continents.

Ivory Coast Acqua for Life

Giorgio Armani invited me to take the Acqua for Life challenge and get through my day with 10 litres of clean water. In some places, 10 litres is a luxury amount of clean water. I chose to do this on a day off work, not leaving the house. I knew it would be hard and so I tried to give myself a quiet day to get stuck in, but in fact I caught myself out and used so much more than I realised.

Here’s how the day went.


Waking up…

The first thing I want to do is have a shower, but I skip it. A bath can use around 25 litres of clean water, I have 10 to last me the whole day!


I can’t believe the simplest things that I take for granted are going to be a struggle today. TEA! I am absolutely mad about tea, I probably have 4 cups before midday. I have at least 2 while I do my make-up and before I leave the house every morning. Having 2 this morning is already 1/20th of my water allowance gone.

Current usage: 0.5/10 litres on two cups of tea.


It’s almost as if my body knows what I’m doing today and I feel like I am only craving things that would use water. Eggs and spinach is one of my favourite lunches when I’m at home, but both things are going to need water! I decide to double up and use the same water for both. I boil my eggs first in a tiny pan and much shallower water, just enough to cover the eggs, then use the same water for my spinach. This makes total sense because it’s not like anything has gone into the water from the eggs anyway. Why haven’t I always done this?!

In other news, now that I’m on a budget I realise how much time I usually spend dawdling when I wash my hands after the bathroom. I washed them without realising and have now used another 2 of my clean water litres. Keeping it short and sweet today has made me realise how much clean water I use. I realise that I have hand sanitizer in the cupboard and leave it out to use from now on.

Current usage: 3.5/10 litres on lunch prep and hand washing.



Tea has been a serious issue. I feel like I can’t work properly without a cup, and by now I’ve used 1.5 of my 10 litres on tea. I can feel a cold coming on and all I want to do is drink a litre bottle of orange squash.

Current usage: 4.5/10 litres on more tea.


All I can think about is clean water now that I’m not meant to be having any, and I end up having a litre on it’s own for a drink.

I opt to have a salad so that I don’t need any water for preparation. But wait, I have to boil my chicken! 2 more litres gone despite having mostly leaves on a plate.

Current usage: 7.5/10 litres on more tea.


And this is when the realisation hits me. I’ve got quite a bit of clean water left in the pot. I’m thinking I might have a wash upstairs, or more tea, or a big glass of squash. And then I realise I’ve been flushing the bathroom all day. A single flush uses 20 litres of clean water, and I must have done it 5 times today. I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it, and it really makes me think about how much we take our clean water for granted.

Current usage: 107.5/10 litres without even realising.

I've used the equivalent of 10 of these today, simply to visit the bathroom.

I’ve used the equivalent of 10 of these today, simply to visit the bathroom.

Winding down for bed…

I always have a shower or bath before bed and I never realised how much this helps me to wind down. Not only that, I just don’t feel as clean as I normally would. I have a wash in the sink with my last 2.5 litres, which feels like cheating given that I’ve gone completely over anyway.

Minus my bathroom flushing, I’ve ticked all of the boxes that I need to but it hasn’t been an enjoyable experience.

Total usage: 110/10 litres, 11 times more than I was asked to use.

This has really made me realise how little we think about basic things that are so precious. I’ve also been thinking about food a lot today, and how hard it must be to feel hungry. As the day has gone on I’ve found myself wondering how I would have coped if I’d fallen and hurt myself today, or been caught in pelting rain and not been able to come home to a hot bath, or had to drink more because of a sickness. I haven’t cooked for anyone today but if I’d had to cook for someone else I would have struggled.

I work in beauty and one of my best friends, Jack, is a manager at my nearest Giorgio Armani. I remember him telling me that Giorgio Armani had given his Collection Prive fragrances precious stone bottle heads because he loved water and the pebbles that he found by the ocean. It made me think about the whole project again, and how lovely it was that really this came down to wanting to share something he loved with the whole world.

What can we do to help?

5 little things that you can do every day…

1. Use antibacterial hand gel instead of soap when washing your hands.

2. Use just enough clean water when cooking your food – enough to immerse your vegetables and nothing more.

3. Be mindful when watering house plants and do so in moderation. Did you know that more house plants die from over-watering than dehydration?

4. Switch the tap off when you brush your teeth!

5. Save your washing loads until they are completely full.

Donations are vital in helping the project to continue. By making a donation to Green Cross, you will help to build the next Acqua for Life community. Take a look at the Acqua for Life ‘Results’ page to see examples of some of their stories so far, such as the education workshops that were held in Mexico or the mega-borehole in Sri Lanka which helped to reduce water borne disease.

To read more about Giorgio Armani’s Acqua for Life project, visit the official website here:

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