Living off a Leaky Fire Hydrant

Robin Greenfield bathing next to a water hydrant.
ActivismEnvironmentOff the Grid Across the USAPersonalResource Conservation

For five days I lived solely off water from a leaky fire hydrant in Brooklyn.
I drank it.
I showered in it.
I did my laundry in it.
I brushed my teeth with it.

I timed how long it took to fill a one gallon jug and it was 2 minutes. That means that 720 gallons of water was being wasted each day from this hydrant alone. A human needs 8 cups or a half gallon of water per day to live. That means this hydrant is wasting a 4 year supply of drinking water for one person EVERY DAY that it is leaking like this. It was leaking all 5 days I was there which is a 20 year drinking supply.

Not a great use of our resources is it?

In 87 days of living off the grid, as I biked across the United States from San Francisco to New York City, I have only used 105 gallons of water. Using my filter, 55 have been from natural sources such as lakes rivers and rain, 20 from wells, and 30 diverted from waste such as leaky faucets, water bottles on the side of the road, and ice trays at gas stations.

I clean myself and wash my clothes in lakes and rivers and the rain. And guess what? You would never know that I don’t take showers because I look and smell good!

According to the USGS the average US American uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. That is what I have used in 80 days!

Nearly 3 months of my life = 1 day of the average US Americans life in water consumption!

Think you can’t cut back on your water usage? Think again!

This adventure is now a book! Dude Making a Difference is the exciting and inspirational story of my bike ride across the USA on a bamboo bike. Go to to get a copy or learn more about it. 100% of my proceeds are donated to environmental grassroots nonprofits!

Follow Robin on social media

Featured Posts