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Kiwis prepare to turn off their taps for 24 hours

Kiwis prepare to turn off their taps for 24 hours

Tonight at midnight, thousands of New Zealanders around the country will be taking on the challenge to go a whole day without turning on their taps – at home and at work – in a brand new project hoping to provide easy access to clean water for our Pacific neighbours.

Taps Off Day is being organised by leading anti-poverty organisation Oxfam, and is taking place all day tomorrow, 22 March, in support of families and communities in places such as Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea who do not have access to safe water.

The project launched on 1 March with the release of a short film, starring award-winning satirist and writer Te Radar. The film can be seen at www.tapsoff.org.nz.

While going 24 hours without being able to turn on the taps might seem like a wild idea to most Kiwis, it is a daily reality for many people in the Pacific.

Oxfam is hoping thousands of New Zealanders will take part in Taps Off Day. Those taking the plunge on 22 March can’t turn any taps on from midnight, but are encouraged to prepare today by filling up bottles, buckets and other containers with water. And, yes, flushing is allowed.

Money pledged towards the event will go to Oxfam’s water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. Papua New Guinea currently has one of the lowest rates of access to clean, safe water in the world.

Charlene Fitisemanu from Oxfam said: “Tonight at midnight, thousands of Kiwis are turning off their taps in support of people in the Pacific who struggle with access to safe water every single day. It’s a simple act of solidarity that makes all the difference – all money raised will go towards Oxfam’s water projects, providing sustainable solutions to the everyday water problems that cause widespread illness and disease, amongst other issues.

“With recent events it’s become even more apparent just how precious water is. It’s made us think about what it would be like not to have clean water so readily accessible – but this is unfortunately the long-term reality for many people who aren’t so lucky. In Auckland, water conservation is still a priority and this is a fantastic way to maximise your efforts while putting them to a good cause.

You can register any time before tomorrow at tapsoff.org.nz, pledge a minimum of $10 and turn off your taps for 24 hours from midnight. Just $75 is enough for a new tap stand in Vanuatu.

Oxfam’s work in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu includes water, sanitation and hygiene projects that focus on improving the health of rural communities, through access to safe water supplies, sanitation facilities and improved hygiene practices.

Taps Off Day is happening on the same day as World Water Day, which happens every year on 22 March. The day focuses attention on the importance of freshwater and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

ENDS

If you’re taking part in Taps Off Day, then please:

Only use water you’ve collected in buckets and water vessels to drink, cook and bathe. But you can flush!

Remember that Taps Off Day starts at 12.01am, so it’s best to get ready the evening before. The challenge finishes at 11.59pm that night.

If you can’t take part on 22 March, then no worries. Feel free to have your own Taps Off Day anytime in the same week.

If you’re doing exercise, or anything else, that requires heavy exertion remember to prepare sufficient supplies.

Stop the challenge if you’re feeling light-headed and you’re running out of supplies.

Share your efforts on social media using the hashtag #tapsoffday


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