If you’ve been in California during the drought, you’ve learned to live with a dirty car, to brush your teeth with a dry toothbrush and to replace grass with gravel. All doable. But what about the fact that more than 600 million people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water? Or that over 80% of the world’s wasted water flows back to the environment without being treated or reused? Alarming statistics like that led to the creation of World Water Day in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly to address the world’s water crisis. Designated as March 22 every year, the theme of 2017’s WWD is wastewater.

To find out what we can do to help the world effort to conserve water, we spoke to the CEO of a company that’s devoted to teaching us how to conserve water, one drop at a time: Stop The Water While Using Me!

Led by Kaya-Line Knust, Stop The Water While Using Me! is a line of organic, mostly vegan lotions, shampoos and gels that raise awareness about the earth’s most precious resource. While you need some water to use these products, you don’t need to keep it running. Plus, a percentage of the company’s revenue is used to help innovate and support water-saving initiatives in regions that suffer from water shortages, like Madagascar and Tanzania.

Bodhi Tree: How did your passion for sustainable water usage start?

Kaya-Line Knust: I grew up on a hippie commune in the countryside, which led to an extremely resource-conscious lifestyle. Since we were getting our water from a self-made well, water was always a focus for me. We came up with the idea to create a daily reminder for our bathrooms [in order to conserve water].

BT: How much water do we typically use when washing our face? Our hair? Any other shocking statistics we should know about?

KLK: Daily routines blind us to our actual water consumption. In 2015, we conducted a study in Germany that showed, on average, a resident consumes 121 liters of water a day! Taking a bath or a shower, washing your hair and brushing your teeth account for a third of one’s daily water consumption.

BT: What immediate actions can we all take to reduce water waste?

KLK: By changing your daily routine, which starts in the bathroom, in the kitchen and in the stores. Eating less meat, buying local produce and buying fewer clothes, as cotton production uses a lot of water. It’s also about using organic products, which are made with superior and non-synthetic ingredients that are are more biodegradable. It’s not only about being environmentally friendly, but also about becoming an informed consumer.

BT: How have you brought your message to groups other than direct consumers? 

KLK: Our message of environmental consciousness is so important for the hotel industry. The average hotel guest uses significantly more water than the average household. We work with international boutique hotels from Australia and the UK to Chile and Greece. With more than 100 partners that focus on sustainability, we use an exclusive refill system to avoid creating extra waste with those little plastic product bottles.

BT: Can you tell us about your annual Good Water Projects?

KLK: It’s not only important to save water, but also to donate water, because there are still millions of people without access to clean drinking water. We launched our Good Water Projects to permanently support intelligent projects that provide fresh water where it’s needed most.

Our first project, in 2014, was the construction of fog collectors in Tanzania. Each collector provides up to 1,000 liters of fresh drinking water daily for the students of Dareda. To save water for dry seasons, we then financed the construction of a cistern in 2015, which holds up to 20,000 liters. Our 2016 project, Drop for Change, brought fresh drinking water to Kenyan schools, where clean water is scarce. With our partner LifeStraw, we brought special filter systems to 2,400 students in order to assure millions of liters of fresh drinking water in the following years.

These projects are very close to my heart, and I feel more than blessed that I was able to see them in person. Thanks to new, intelligent inventions such as the fog collectors and smart filter technology, we can guarantee a constant supply of fresh drinking water for decades!

BT: What’s your 2017 Good Water Project, and how does it tie into the wastewater theme of this year’s World Water Day?

KLK: This World Water Day, we will launch A Water Kiosk, which will provide more than 5,000 liters of fresh drinking water daily for up to 500 families in Andoharanofotsy, a small town near the capital of Madagascar. But everyone can be part of the new project, as 10% of the proceeds of each of our All-Natural Good Water Projects Edition of our 500ml Lemon Honey Soap will go directly to the Water Kiosk project.

BT: OK, last question: What’s your favorite product, and why?

KLK: Tricky question, because I love all of them! I enjoy that we’re working with unique scent combinations like cucumber and lime in our vegan soap and hand balm, and almond and fig in our body oil. But I think my personal favorite is the scent of our brand-new body lotion and shower gel: white sage and cedar. Both products are very refreshing, invigorating and they pamper your skin.

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