Drink Water Wisely

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • It takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottle water?
  • It takes 250ml of oil to produce 1 liter of bottled water?
  • People in the US buy more than 500,000,000 water bottles every week.
  • Most bottled water is just tap water.

Almost ten years ago, we noticed that climbers brought a ridiculous number of plastic water bottles to our local crag every day.  Some days we were able to collect more than 100 plastic bottles.  We decided it had to stop and ever since, CMRCA has been providing a free water refill station at Crazy Horse Buttress for climbers.  The impact was immediate and the number of plastic bottles collected today is minimal.

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It didn’t take long for us to realize that it wasn’t just climbers at Crazy Horse who were leaving plastic bottles behind.  It is people all over Thailand and Asia including locals, expats and tourists who are buying bottles every day and leaving the trash behind.

Let’s do the math…The Thai Authority of Tourism reports that over 17 million tourists came to Thailand in 2011:

17,000,000 people x 3 bottles per day = 158,000,000 bottles

And that’s just the tourists!

We think it’s time for a change. It’s true that in the past, water in developing countries was often untreated.  In Thailand and other parts of Asia those days are long gone. Ice is made from treated water and now access to clean water is easy and inexpensive.

It’s not enough to practice Leave No Trace ethics when we are in the wilderness. We also need to practice them in urban areas and while we travel. We have seen too many travelers purchase plastic bottles every day and we think there is a better alternative. We’re excited to introduce REFILL– an iPhone and Android App that helps you locate the nearest water refilling station. Refilling your water bottle at the machines can cost as little as 0.5 baht/liter ($0.2) vs. the 10 baht/liter for a bottle in the minimart. The math is simple – if you are traveling for 30 days and purchasing 4 bottles per day, you deposit an additional 120 plastic bottles into the trash system in Thailand and spend nearly THB 1200 ($40) on drinking water. This impact compared to zero waste and a cost as low as THB 60 ($2) make this a no brainer!

How It Works:

  •  When traveling, you can’t drink from the tap and let’s be honest – it’s hot and the climate requires adventurers to drink a ton of water stay hydrated. Pick-up a BPA-free stainless steel bottle or MSR Dromedary bag at the CMRCA Adventure Store or reuse an old plastic bottle.
  •  Open and the app will automatically pinpoint your location using the GPS system on your iPhone or Android.
  •  The screen will identify all water refill stations in your area on a map.  You can navigate using your map or by clicking the exact destination and following text directions.
  •  It’s that simple! Follow directions on the machine to refill your reusable water bottle with safe drinking water.
  •  You can also help expand the REFILL program by looking out for blue refill  stations  or water fountains and marking their location within the application.

Other Resources and Tips to Drink Water Wisely

  •  The REFILL application and water station at Crazy Horse Buttress are provided free of charge by CMRCA.  Stop by the shop and support this initiative by donating to the CMRCA Water Fund.
  •  Tell your friends!  The app works anywhere you have access to the internet and can continue to lower tourism’s negative effects on local, national and international ecosystems.
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