The Real Cost of Water


Mad props to Danny for this TBtT poster.

All of the items listed above are available on campus, but if you expand your search a little, don’t forget you can also buy yourself:

  • 28 boxes of Abraham Lincoln bandaids (enough to get you through 560 papercuts, but no good for injuries inflicted by John Wilkes Booth)
  • 8 dinosaur growth charts
  • 9 sets of Tardis/Dalek salt and pepper shakers
  • 238 oz. of canned Unicorn meat
  • 15 yodeling pickles

Why don’t we all have yodeling pickles yet?

Before we get caught up buying canned unicorn meat, it’s important to remember something else we could buy with that money: To provide clean water for life to one of the 780 million people without access, it costs an average of $25.  (This number is a little misleading, it’s between 7,000 and 30,000 dollars to build a well for a community, but then it provides clean water to lots of people at a cost of about $25 each.)  That means that the $171.48 that many Rochester students spend for the convenience of disposable water bottles could provide a lifetime of clean water for 6 people (almost 7).

There were, at the most recent counting, 5,837 undergraduate students at the University of Rochester.  If each of us diverted that $171.48, that would amount to $1,000,928.76, enough to provide clean water for 40,037 people.  That’s more than the population of Ithaca, New York (a mere 30,000 individuals), or the entire country of Liechtenstein.  Considering 3.4 million people die each year from lack of access to clean water, providing this water would save (statistically) 174 lives in the next year.

And that is the real cost of disposable water.



Author: Charlotte Humes


3 thoughts on “The Real Cost of Water

      • The meal plans are structured such that you’re “locked-in” to a set $ amount (and I realize why that may make sense for the Dining services to do that.) If the balance you start out with at the start of the semester remains high as the semester draws to an end, many will feel the need to deplete the balance (after all, declining balance is not rolled over year to year), and this may lead to “unnecessary” purchases like bottled water.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s