This March, we’re asking Australians to make water their only beverage for the Water Challenge. But what makes a drink a drink, and where do you draw the line between a drink and a meal?
There’s only really one rule when it comes to the Water Challenge. And that’s to make water your own beverage for 31 days during March. Sounds simple enough, ay? That means replacing your daily coffee, your after-work beer and your morning tea with nothing but water. But there are a few grey areas when it comes to the Water Challenge, and we’re here to clean them up for you.
Have you got a wedding, party, or birthday scheduled right in the middle of your Water Challenge schedule? Or maybe you’ve got the work week from hell coming up, complete with multiple 6am wake-up calls!
There’s a few ways to go about this. The first is to use these moments to your advantage – your friends might be shocked to find you drinking nothing but water when there’s an open bar tab, but it’s a great way to get the conversation started about the challenge you’re taking. And a perfect opportunity to earn yourself a few donations!
If you simply can’t resist having a non-water beverage that day, you may need a 'Raise A Glass' pass. This is your ticket to putting your Water Challenge on pause. But the pass comes at a cost – you’ll need to donate $24 to take a whole day off your challenge. Alternatively, a $12 donation will get you off half the day, while $36 can earn you the whole weekend off.
To activate your Raise A Glass pass, all you need to do is make the appropriate donation to your fundraising page and write “Raise A Glass Pass” in the message field. Please note that you won't receive anything physical in return for this donation.
How do you define water?
Water is more versatile than you think. In addition to warm-temperature tap water, there’s spring water, hot water, ice water, mineral water, sparkling water, and soda water. So where do you draw the line?
This year, we’re letting you decide how strict you want to interpret water. We have two different levels of difficulty and it's up to you to decide which criteria you'll be sticking to:
Level 2 – Unflavoured water only (including sparkling water)
Level 1 - Fruit, spices and herbs are allowed in water, but herbal tea is prohibited
If you opt for the Level 1 challenge, feel free to try some of the flavoured water recipes we have available at www.wateraid.org/au/news/news/water-challenge-recipes
To make the challenge fair, we’d advise you to keep your fruit concoctions out of the blender and to not add processed ingredients to your drinks, such as cordial, tea bags, and coffee beans. If your drink resembles tea or juice more than it does water, it doesn’t make the cut.
Is it a meal or a drink?
We don’t always consume fluids in a glass – sometimes they’re in a bowl. So what are the rules for the milk at the bottom of the cereal bowl, or the soup entrée that precedes dinner?
The best question to ask yourself here is: is it a meal or a drink? So long as you’re not overfilling your breakfast bowl with half a litre of milk, or replacing your daily tea with daily cups of chicken soup, we’re happy for you to continue your regular dietary habits.
This is good news for your body when it comes to fruits. While we’re not going to let you have that orange juice you’re craving, there’s nothing stopping you from eating a fresh orange. Processed fruit drinks often contain extra sugar or surpass your recommended daily fruit intake, so munching on an apple or slicing up some pineapple is a much healthier option than a smoothie anyway.
Can I nibble on coffee beans?
It’s a weird habit, but if that’s what you need to keep alert during March, we’re not going to stop you! The same goes with sprinkling milo powder or instant coffee on your ice cream, if you’re desperately craving those flavours. Speaking of ice cream, alcoholic ice cream is acceptable, although we recommend you eat responsibly.
Can I do a shorter or longer version of the campaign?
While we encourage you to do the challenge for the 31 days of March, you have the option of choosing a shorter or longer duration when registering on our website. We know some people who are taking the challenge for just a week, while others who are committing themselves to a year-long slog. You could always try the challenge for a week, and extend it if you’re finding it easier than you thought.
The majority of Water Challenge participants will be kicking off their challenge on 1 March.
Is medication acceptable?
Yes, if you need to take medication in liquid form, that's completely fine!
The spirit of the campaign
At the end of the day, the most important thing about the Water Challenge is that you’re undertaking it in good spirits (but not the top shelf kind). As long as you’re making a sacrifice and raising funds and awareness for the 844 million people who still lack access to safe water, we’re happy!