As we all know, the water in China is not safe for drinking. This requires someone living here to either continuously buy small bottle of drinking water (as many foreign exchange students do), or to buy one of these water coolers and have new jugs delivered on a fairly regular basis.
During the winter months, I averaged 1 18.9L jug of water every two weeks or so. In the hotter months, I’ve found I go through one every 4-5 days. It’s always a great time taking the empty bottle down to Lao Wang and tossing him 5 RMB to get new water. Usually within the hour a man riding a bicycle or cart will bring new jugs from the Henan water purification company. How refreshing!
Strangely (or perhaps not for the Chinese), the water cooler doesn’t actually cool water. When plugged in, it heats water up. The Chinese have some strange beliefs about how cold water is bad for your body. They often gasp when I drink ice water and tell me that some day I will regret my decision. The constant supply of warm water was nice during the winter months, as I used it to make tea and soy milk (from powder) on a regular basis.
My water cooler is something I will both miss and also be glad to be rid of!