One of the biggest issues facing the world today is water availability. While the US and other developed countries are currently under severe drought and consequently struggling with water shortages, people living in developing countries across the world struggle to find water every day. For these people, this is not only a struggle to find water, it is a struggle for survival. Charity: water is a water charity striving to change that.
More than 800 million people do not have access to safe drinking water or basic sanitation. Women and children often have to walk miles to fetch water, that will ultimately make them sick. This often takes up much of their day, which means that they cannot work or go to school. A staggering 300,000 people die every week due to water-related illness, 90% of whom are children under the age of five. Children are most susceptible to death from dehydration after contracting disease – every 19 seconds another child dies from water borne disease. The statistics are horrifying, especially considering they can be prevented.
Charity: water Provides Communities with Clean Water
Charity: wwater is an organization that is doing just that. Very often safe drinking water is available in groundwater a few hundred feet below the ground surface, and just needs to be accessed by drilling a well. Once a well has been constructed, it can provide safe drinking water for more than 250 people. Charity Water not only provides communities with access to safe drinking water, but in order to make the provision of clean drinking water sustainable, it also provides skills training with regards to maintenance of the equipment used in the water project, as well as training in basic hygiene and sanitation.
Some of the methods they use to provide safe drinking water to communities include:
- Hand-dug Wells – These are most feasible when the soil substrate is soft and the water table high, and usually involves community participation in the digging of the wells.
- Drilled Wells – A drilling rig is used to drill through bedrock to reach the groundwater held in an aquifer deep underground. Once drilled, the well is plugged with a pump to extract water manually — either by hand or by foot – from the water table below. As they require specialized equipment and skilled labor, drilled wells cost more to construct than hand-dug wells, but they are able to provide larger volumes of water, and consequently are able to supply more people with safe drinking water.
- Rainwater Catchment – By implementing rainwater harvesting systems in areas that receive high volumes of rainfall during the wet season, water can be harvested from rooftops and channeled through gutters and pipes to a water storage tank, which protects the water from becoming contaminated by pathogens and pollutants.
- Spring Protection – By tapping natural springs, clean freshwater is stored and piped to community residents to prevent it from becoming contaminated at the source. Depending on the flow rate of the spring, water can be provided to a few hundred people in a local village, or in the case of a stronger flow, to hundreds or even thousands of people in surrounding villages.
- Bio-Sand Water Filters – Bio-sand filters are gravity filters that consist of layers of sand and stone that filter harmful contaminants from water as it permeates through the pores in the sand. They offer a simple water filtration method that requires no power, and very little maintenance, and can provide safe drinking water for up to 15 people. They are simple to construct allowing people to build a filter at their home where it is readily available to filter water to make it safe to drink.
- Rehabilitation – Charity: water undertakes repairs and maintenance to existing non-charity:water projects that have fallen into a state of disrepair or are no longer working, and also provides communities with maintenance training to ensure equipment is properly maintained in the future.
To date, charity: water has implemented 6,270 water projects in 20 countries, providing safe drinking water to 2,500,000 people. They have achieved this with the help of people like you and I, who have donated or raised funds through fun events. They have some novel fundraising ideas, including getting people to sacrifice birthday gifts in lieu of donations towards their cause – you don’t need yet another pair of polka dot socks for your birthday anyway – in fact you don’t need anything as much as other people need safe drinking water. Pledge to give up your next birthday; by sacrificing your birthday gifts you will be giving others the ultimate gift — the gift of life