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FRANK x SBTRCT: Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink...

March 28, 2022 3 min read

We believe the skincare industry, like fashion, contributes greatly to water scarcity around the world, impacting the 844 million people who lack access to clean water.

Unlike many skincare creams and lotions, that are around 70%-80% water, SBTRCT solid formulations contain zero added water.

This year, we have partnered with Frank Water, a charity helping to create a water-secure future where the world's water sources are protected from the impact of the climate crisis and where everyone has access to clean, safe water.

Here, the Founder of Frank Water, Katie Alcott MBE, tells us all about the work they do and why mindful water use in the UK matters…

It’s rained almost non-stop for a week. The ground is saturated, rivers are high and some areas of the country are still at risk of flooding. Water crisis? What water crisis?

For people in the UK, it’s hard to believe that we could ever run out of water and tips for saving water, like turning off the tap whilst you brush your teeth and taking showers instead of baths are surely for other countries, where it doesn’t rain for more than half the year?

But mindful water use is every bit as important in the UK as it is for any and every country.

Average household water use in the UK is around 156 litres of water. Add to that our consumption of virtual water and our individual water footprint soars to a staggering 4645 litres per day[1]

Virtual what? 

Virtual water is the actual water that’s used to grow the food we eat and make the clothes we wear. We can’t see it when we eat a sandwich or pull on a pair of jeans but that doesn’t make it any less real than the cold stuff that flows freely from our tap. Just 38% of the virtual water we consume is fulfilled by water sources here in the UK, the rest - a massive 62% is accounted for by water from other nations.

Why does it matter? 

Our virtual water consumption underlines ‘why’ it’s important to conserve our own water sources. Wasting our own water resources makes us less water-secure for the future and will lead to us extracting yet more water from other countries.

But no less important is how reliable access to food, drinks, skincare products and clothing - everyday items - is reliant on water security and good water management of water resources in other parts of the world, and how the impact of our purchase is felt across the globe.    

What’s this got to do with Frank Water?

Frank Water is a water charity and social enterprise working here in the UK and overseas. Our UK projects inspire adults and children to join the dots between the way we use water here, and the water scarcity that affects other parts of the world. We do this by educating people so that they understand the challenges and are inspired to find solutions, and by enabling them to change their behaviour, consume less and re-use, refill and recycle more.

Overseas, Frank Water supports communities to become water secure. We don’t simply dig wells or install taps. Instead, we focus on the importance of putting back in what you take out. This approach is called Integrated Water Resource Management (or IWRM). With every community, we start by mapping the water ‘landscape’. What water sources are there? Where are they? Who uses them and what for?  We take into account the geography and terrain and we talk to villagers to understand what changes they’ve seen over the years. 

Armed with this information, we can develop a roadmap that includes actions to both recharge underground aquifers and reduce the amount of water extracted from the ground. This could include encouraging farmers to grow different, less thirsty crops, making ponds deeper and building check dams to reduce run off and encourage water to percolate back into the ground. This roadmap varies from village to village, but the outcomes are always the same: a community with access to safe, reliable water AND a step closer our vision of a water-secure world.  

Since 2005, Frank Water has provided clean, reliable drinking water, proper toilets, and good hygiene for 455,629 people across 677 communities in India and Nepal. 

SBTRCT has now joined Frank Water’s Rainmaker Club as a strategic partner, this means we donate annually and are excited to collaborate on upcoming projects. Watch this space!

[1] https://waterfootprint.org/media/downloads/Orr_and_Chapagain_2008_UK_waterfootprint-vol1.pdf