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Monday, June 4, 2012

Water Footprint of Prayer & Water Security

The Rainbow Water Coalition spent last week at a Short Course on Water Security offered through the Water Security Research Centre at the University of East Anglia by colleagues Mark Zeitoun and Naho Mirumachi. The line-up of mentors and speakers was world class and included Tony Allan, the 2008 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. Participants traveled from across the world to participate including new friends from Oman, UAE, Chile, Malaysia, Israel, Switzerland, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Denmark, and United Kingdom.

The workshop covered a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from the blizzard of definitions for water security in the academic and grey literature, to the importance of visiting English pubs to develop even more definitions of water security. One topic given quite abit of attention was the concept of water footprints and how this tool is integrated into the analyses of water security. 

The Water Footprint Network has mapped out the water footprint of humanity. But one part of "humanity" that one rarely hears about regarding water use and reuse is that associated with prayer. The RWC previously posted on the use of prayer on the supply side of the water use equation here. And the same posting summarized research regarding water use in religion. What is missing from both "uses" of prayer are metrics - how much water is derived from prayer, and how much water is used in prayer? 

The answer to the first question is like drawing a line around a cloud.

The answer to the second question can be found in this carefully researched paper in the journal EJGE titled Mosque Greywater Quantity in Sana'a, Yemen by Mohammed Hasan Al-Mughalle, Rakmi Abdul Rahman, Fatihah Binti Suja' and Sharifah Mastura Syed Abdullah.


Daily greywater that produced from two mosques in capital Sana’a was determined by counting the worshippers that perform the ablution in each of five prayers times for one week and by determination the water quantity consumed by one worshipper during the ablution. Worshippers’ numbers that performed the ablution in Al-Rahman and Ghazwat Badr mosques were 967 and 496 worshipper/day, respectively. Greywater quantity produced by one worshipper was 2.7 liter/worshipper/one prayer for each mosque. The results showed the maximum value of worshippers’ numbers that performed the ablution were in adhuhr prayer time on Friday and showed that the maximum worshippers’ numbers were in Almaghrib prayer, then Adhuhr, Alasr, Alisha’a, and Alfajr. 

Clearly, the "footprint" of water in religion and spirituality must be part of the water security analysis for nations.

Each participant was responsible for summarizing a day of the workshop. Given the eight hour time difference between the home base of the Rainbow Water Coalition and Norwich, jet lag was all consuming yet inspirational. As a result, the RWC provided a poematic summary.

I was asked what I learned yesterday
Well, it started with Water Security
Being defined as just about anything we say
Yes, there are groundrules like IWRM
And we must be mindful 
Of US paranoia on terrorism

But when the fog of war lifts
The path of virtual water 
And water footprints
Is overgrown by tangled webs of water security
The way out?
Play tic-tac-toe with cultural theory

Dodge the water crisis
With a six point Harvard-generated plan
Voodoo economics, rainbow water, conservation
Low water sanitation, desalination
And remember
An investment in water today keeps the terrorists away.

Dr. Mirumachi then dropped the gauntlet on the class and suggested a Haiku was in order. The RWC obliged with the following to close out the workshop.

Secured H2O
Undefined, Seasonal Game
Save, Sharing, Eco-tyranny?
* * *
Water Security is water use and reuse without getting into trouble.
~ Rainbow Water Coalition definition in closing presentation

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