Though I have yet to complete the ALS Ice Bucket challenge (video is forthcoming), I will complete it with a sound conscience as a M.S. student in environmental engineer studying hydrology and here’s why (warning: math ahead). Last night it rained heavily in Cincinnati. Approximately 1.5 inches of rain fell during the extremely loud thunderstorm: let’s see how many gallons that translates to.
(1.5 inches of rain)(77.94 Square Miles of City)(17.38 million gallons per one inch of rainfall per one square mile) = 2 BILLION gallons of water.
Someone on the internet has already kindly calculated how much water has been used for the ALS challenge, which is at least 6 million gallons of water. How significant is that? When compared to last night’s rainfall:
6,000,000/2,000,000,000 x 100% = 0.30%
So just to be clear, we’re arguing over less than 1% of Cincinnati’s rainfall from last night. Cincinnati averages 41.94 inches of rain every year.
Obviously, continuing this exercise to cover the entire nation will show how infinitely small the impact of pouring ice water over your head has on available water resources.
I will make a shout-out though to those who are concerned about water for developing nations. From my experience overseas in sub-Sahara Africa and from my studies, rarely is the problem of clean water attributed to the amount of water that exists within a region as opposed to the availability of water within a region.
So GO! Contract hypothermia in clever and exciting ways and donate to ALS!