I feel like Thirst in real life doesnt affect your speed as much as it does in game, but it does affect your sense of focus(which I believe It currently does not in game).
Proposition: Have thirst speed penalties decreased while creating some sort of mechanic where increases in thirst reduce focus. I do believe thirst should have some effect on speed but not to the current degree.
Forgive me if this has already been spoken about in length, and sorry for not offering to change this myself in json. I have not summed up the courage yet to learn, but will someday. Just wanted to see if anyone else would be interested in a change like this/if it makes sense moving forward. Love this game, thank you for all of your work.
tl:dr Thirst should affect speed less, and focus more.