The ALS ice water bucket challenge should be performed in California


The ice bucket challenge has raised millions for ALS research, while having a limited impact on CA's drought.

Avni Prasad

California is suffering from one of its worst droughts and certainly the ice bucket challenge is not helping with that problem. But, simultaneously, the ice bucket challenge is bringing awareness to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this gray zone, all there is left to do is compare the pros and cons.

It all comes down to the numbers.

31.5 million dollars was donated to the ALS Association over a timespan of 23 days. In that same period, about 1.2 million ALS ice bucket challenge videos have been posted on Facebook. Meaning, for every bucket of ice water poured, $26.25 is pocketed in research to cure ALS.

Facebook released statistics (Map representing nominators and nominees for the Ice Bucket Challenge) indicating over half the participants in the ice bucket challenge are living on the east coast. Even if we assume that half the ice bucket videos in the US were posted by Californians, only around 3 million buckets of water would be poured to support ALS over 23 days. That’s about 130,000 gallons of water per day, which is not such a large amount considering almost 4.4 billion gallons of water are used by Californian residents each day.

In effect, the ALS ice water bucket challenge accounts for about 0.003% of water California residents use on a daily basis. And to top it all off, California residential consumption only accounts for about 4% of water use in California. Which means that the ice bucket challenge is responsible for 0.0001% of California’s drought.

But let’s not forget that it is also responsible for $31.5 million donation to the ALS Association.

My brother recently nominated me for the ice bucket challenge. Although dumping a bucket of ice water on my head is insignificant to the paralysis that ALS patients suffer, I will gladly accept this challenge to help renew the research of this disease.

Infographic by Avni Prasad

The ice bucket challenge has raised millions for ALS research, while having a limited impact on CA’s drought.