Ice Bucket Challenge raises money for WaterAid

Surge in donations from people giving to WaterAid instead of - or as well as - doing the #IceBucketChallenge.


27 Aug 2014 | UK

We take it for granted that we can fill a bucket with clean water from the tap, but millions around the world have to walk miles every day to collect water which may not even be safe to drink. Therefore the #IceBucketChallenge posed something of a dilemma for us here at WaterAid.

Our first donations came from members of the deaf community taking part in the Cold Water Challenge in July. Since then, the idea of tipping water over your head, donating and nominating others to do the same has taken off around the world, with the Ice Bucket Challenge.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen more and more people taking the Challenge for WaterAid in a number of creative ways. We’ve also noticed an increase in donations from people citing the wasted water as a reason to donate to WaterAid in lieu of taking the Challenge.

Lots of you have been talking about it on social media, and you've been sharing your films with us. Of course, we are immensely grateful for all the donations we have received because of the Challenge. If it's raising money and awareness to help more people get clean water and get more people thinking about their water usage – and how lucky we are to have clean water on tap – then this in itself isn’t a bad thing.

However, we are conscious that wasting water is not to be encouraged, so here are our picks of some of the more 'sustainable' approaches to the Challenge.

Our favourites so far

Bloggers Family Days Tried and Tested walked for two miles with their bags of ice and buckets in the Brecon Beacons to help give their children an understanding of the journey millions of people around the world take every day to collect water. They then filled their WaterAid bucket with river water and took the Challenge next to a waterfall, with the water returning to the river:

Jo Holloway-Green's twist on the #IceBucketChallenge involved her using ice cold water to wash her hair with:

Matt Damon took the Challenge using water from his own toilet to highlight that water is a precious resource and how the stuff we have in our toilets is cleaner than what millions of people have to drink. Great idea, Matt; we wish we’d thought of it!

And Steve Hynd, an NGO worker and freelance journalist based in Uganda, chose not to accept the Challenge, as he lives in a country where many don't have access to safe, clean water, but to donate to us instead:

We’ve also seen variations such as the 'No Water' Challenge, and even a person tipping a bucket of sand on their head, rather than water. All of your donations will help us get clean water and safe toilets where they're needed most - in the world's poorest communities, and for this we are hugely grateful.

Worried about the water?

If you do wish to take the Challenge using water, you can make sure you minimise waste by doing it in your bath, shower, local lido or swimming pool. You could also leave your bucket outside and wait for it to fill up with rainwater before taking the Challenge. We call this ‘rainwater harvesting’ and in many countries it’s a vital source of water.

When WaterAid’s Tap and Toilet took the Challenge, they only filled their buckets halfway and they stood in a garden so the plants got a good watering as well:

Or, like Thomas Aveling, you could get creative with Lego and not waste any water at all:

Stay safe

Doctors have warned of the risks of the Challenge to elderly people, pregnant women and people with heart conditions. Additionally, you should not put yourself at risk when taking on the Challenge, for example, by doing it in rivers or lakes, which may be dangerous.