How Far Do People Walk for Water?

This is a guest blog from Drop in the Bucket! This video is a relatable representation of the time it takes for many Africans to collect their daily water. The average jug full of water can weigh about 40 lbs when full. The burden of fetching water is more commonly placed on women because in about two-thirds or 64% of households women collect water for the family. There is a strong need for clean and safe drinking water since nearly 300 of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in a water-scarce environment. While this video highlights collecting water as an “African” problem, we must remember not to generalize because most African’s  communities do have access to water.

We must do all we can to assist those who have to walk hours to collect water. We can help is through supporting the construction of water pipelines for indigenous groups in Tanzania here.

“The video is titled “How long do people in Africa walk to get water?”. The video attempts to frame the water crisis in a different way by setting the long walk for water, that many people in Africa do every day, in an American location.

The video one was directed by Nathan Karma Cox and shot on location in Studio City, CA at Black Market Liquor who generously allowed us to shoot during the day before they opened. The video was produced by Cory Reeder and features music by Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga who played all of the instruments on the track including kazoo. Vocals were provided by Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and the graphics were created by Rodrigo Gava from Gava Productions.” –Drop in the Bucket

Environmental Injustices Surrounding Bottled Water

By Caity Varian       

Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water and a thousand more people throw one of these bottles away, adding up to more than thirty billion bottles purchased every year and resulting in tens of billions of dollars in profits for the beverage industry. Water was first sold for emergency storm supply purposes in grocery stores in the United States and is now being marketed and sold all over the world by multinational corporations. Public water supplies are increasingly being pressured by beverage companies to privatize their services. The emphasis on profit in the bottled water industry has exacerbated existing inequalities on local, national and global scales.

In the United States, the beverage industry has capitalized on public fear of tap water, marketing bottled water as a healthy alternative and a safe solution. The imagery and rhetoric employed in bottled water marketing and advertising has worked to construct the consumption of bottled water as the solution to the global water crisis, hindering any sort of political or collective action towards improving the quality of municipal water sources and the quality of freshwater more generally.

water-in-the-desert

Companies such as a Nestle, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo extract water and harness municipal water sources, damaging these sources for local communities and future generations. If the bottled water industry continues to grow and thrive, aquifers and groundwater sources will become depleted and only those that can afford to do so will be able to purchase clean drinking water. Bottled water costs 240-100,000 times more per gallon compared to tap water. If the bottled water industry continues to thrive, municipal sources will become more and more scarce and expensive, making clean drinking water more expensive and less accessible.

Bottled water does have an important role to play during emergencies when municipal water systems are temporarily disrupted and in some major cities and countries of the world, bottled water may be the only available source of safe drinking water. However, the perception of bottled water as a status symbol in the United States or as the main source of clean drinking water for the American people needs to be dismantled.

Resistance to the bottled water industry must be addressed at the level of both production and consumption. A “take back the tap” campaign needs to be employed to promote a cultural shift away from the consumption of bottled water. Creating awareness about environmental injustices that persist within the bottled water industry and establishing transparency within the industry will be crucial. Environmental Justice activists must work to persuade consumers to avoid bottled water whenever possible and to pressure public institutions and local governments to stop buying it. In terms of production, local communities need to actively oppose and protest specific instances of spring water extraction by the beverage industry, advocating for the preservation of municipal water sources. We need to think about drinking water as a cultural resource, a political resource, and as an economic resource, and deeply consider the implications of all of these perspectives.

 

Current Event: Yemen Water Crisis

“Yemen is a country on the verge of drying out.” – Michael Cruickshank

Just as food and water became scarce, violence erupted in Yemen. Destructive bombings have damaged a large portion of the infrastructure including an important pipeline in Yemen’s capital city, Sanaa. About 60% of the water that flows through the pipe is lost because of leaks. Groundwater reserves are also drying in Sanaa and the city is currently at risk of running out of water completely. The situation is no better in rural areas where women can spend four or five hours collecting water each day.

There is more to blame than climate change.

“Rainwater harvesting has taken a backseat to drilling and the use of modern pumps and tube wells, which draw too heavily on the finite groundwater supply, the biggest contributor to the current water crisis.” –The Gardian

Groundwater is being pumped much faster than it can be replenished in Yemen, and the government is not taking action to restrict pumping. Some better alternative methods to groundwater pumping would be buying water from agricultural wells and treating water near the coast to make it more drinkable. Yemen is in desperate need of a solution to this water crisis. The Red Cross predicts that it will only be 3-4 months until Yemen faces famine.

Help provide clean water here.

How Far Do People Walk for Water?

This is a guest blog from Drop in the Bucket! This video is a relatable representation of the time it takes for many Africans to collect their daily water. The average jug full of water can weigh about 40 lbs when full. The burden of fetching water is more commonly placed on women because in about two-thirds or 64% of households women collect water for the family. There is a strong need for clean and safe drinking water since nearly 300 of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live in a water-scarce environment. While this video highlights collecting water as an “African” problem, we must remember not to generalize because most African’s  communities do have access to water.

We must do all we can to assist those who have to walk hours to collect water. We can help is through supporting the construction of water pipelines for indigenous groups in Tanzania here.

“The video is titled “How long do people in Africa walk to get water?”. The video attempts to frame the water crisis in a different way by setting the long walk for water, that many people in Africa do every day, in an American location.

The video one was directed by Nathan Karma Cox and shot on location in Studio City, CA at Black Market Liquor who generously allowed us to shoot during the day before they opened. The video was produced by Cory Reeder and features music by Stone Sour drummer Roy Mayorga who played all of the instruments on the track including kazoo. Vocals were provided by Stone Sour guitarist Christian Martucci and the graphics were created by Rodrigo Gava from Gava Productions.” –Drop in the Bucket

Are You a Water Waster?

It’s World Water Week and this year’s theme is wastewater. About 80% of the water we use goes down the drain. The water we don’t use flows back into nature and pollutes the environment.  Take this quiz to find out if you are a water waster.

Here are some ways to conserve water!

  1. When washing dishes by hand or brushing your teeth, don’t let the water run.
  2. Use dishwashers. They use less water than washing dishes by hand.
  3. Use a reusable water bottle when drinking, even at home. This reduces the number of glasses that you need to wash.
  4. When you scrape pots and pans clean, soak them instead of letting the water run.
  5. Throw food, oils, and trash in the garbage, not down the sink. Limit your use of the garbage disposal.
  6. Water plants only when they need it because more plants die from overwatering than underwatering.
  7. Use your extra sink water or bathtub water to water your plants or wash your car.

There’s a lot we can do to conserve water. For World Water Week also consider giving to people who do not have access to clean water.

You can provide solar powered running water for orphans in Africa here.

Visit Water Use it Wisely to learn more water saving strategies

 

Environmental Injustices Surrounding Bottled Water

By Caity Varian       

Every second of every day in the United States, a thousand people buy a plastic bottle of water and a thousand more people throw one of these bottles away, adding up to more than thirty billion bottles purchased every year and resulting in tens of billions of dollars in profits for the beverage industry. Water was first sold for emergency storm supply purposes in grocery stores in the United States and is now being marketed and sold all over the world by multinational corporations. Public water supplies are increasingly being pressured by beverage companies to privatize their services. The emphasis on profit in the bottled water industry has exacerbated existing inequalities on local, national and global scales.

In the United States, the beverage industry has capitalized on public fear of tap water, marketing bottled water as a healthy alternative and a safe solution. The imagery and rhetoric employed in bottled water marketing and advertising has worked to construct the consumption of bottled water as the solution to the global water crisis, hindering any sort of political or collective action towards improving the quality of municipal water sources and the quality of freshwater more generally.

water-in-the-desert

Companies such as a Nestle, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo extract water and harness municipal water sources, damaging these sources for local communities and future generations. If the bottled water industry continues to grow and thrive, aquifers and groundwater sources will become depleted and only those that can afford to do so will be able to purchase clean drinking water. Bottled water costs 240-100,000 times more per gallon compared to tap water. If the bottled water industry continues to thrive, municipal sources will become more and more scarce and expensive, making clean drinking water more expensive and less accessible.

Bottled water does have an important role to play during emergencies when municipal water systems are temporarily disrupted and in some major cities and countries of the world, bottled water may be the only available source of safe drinking water. However, the perception of bottled water as a status symbol in the United States or as the main source of clean drinking water for the American people needs to be dismantled.

Resistance to the bottled water industry must be addressed at the level of both production and consumption. A “take back the tap” campaign needs to be employed to promote a cultural shift away from the consumption of bottled water. Creating awareness about environmental injustices that persist within the bottled water industry and establishing transparency within the industry will be crucial. Environmental Justice activists must work to persuade consumers to avoid bottled water whenever possible and to pressure public institutions and local governments to stop buying it. In terms of production, local communities need to actively oppose and protest specific instances of spring water extraction by the beverage industry, advocating for the preservation of municipal water sources. We need to think about drinking water as a cultural resource, a political resource, and as an economic resource, and deeply consider the implications of all of these perspectives.

 

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind”

Williams Home on Movingwindmills.org
William's Home on Movingwindmills.org

by Anis Salvesen

Imagine you are one of 9 people in a family of subsistence farmers.  You don’t have water or electricity.  It’s all you can do to get by.

Then things get worse.  Yes.  The worst famine in 50 years strikes your country.  You’re 14 years old.  You don’t speak English very well.  You live in a country that is largely ignored by the rest of the world.  What would you do?

If your answer is, “check out some Physics books written in English from the local library, find a diagram of a windmill then decide to build one with random parts” while everyone around you said you were crazy, then your name must be William Kamkwamba.

This kid, with no support from his community and no money for parts, managed to learn enough physics (from English text) to start his windmill project.  I’m not sure that even after multiple semesters of physics in my own language and access to proper building materials, I would be able to construct a good windmill.    Yet William, using random parts like a tractor fan, flip-flops and a bicycle frame, managed to do just that.

What is perhaps more impressive than his resourcefulness is William’s vision.  That he had the foresight to act on the idea that water and electricity were of more benefit to the community than his single contribution to farming is incredible.    Either a sense of hopelessness, of resignation or an obsession with eking out every last bit of food from the farm would seem far more likely to me.

To go from being a kid who was forced to drop out of school, to a young man speaking at such events as the Africa Economic Forum at Columbia University, TED Global and the World Economic Forum is just jaw-dropping.  And he’s not just speaking, he continues to take action.   Through his Moving Windmills Project, William has accomplished the following and much more:  providing running water taps free-of-charge for all villagers, offering secondary school scholarships for rural students, and harnessing both wind and solar power for homes in his village.

William Kamkwamba is just such an inspiration!  If you are feeling inspired and want to help,  you can (in addition to supporting the Moving Windmills Project), help provide water for other communities.  We even have a gift package for just $19.  Or you can choose from over 250 other gift packages, ranging from a simple but life-saving mosquito net to helping fund more elaborate projects.  It’s really easy.

Thanks for reading this blog post and for sharing it with your family and friends.   If you’re curious about your knowledge of African geography, take the quiz below.

Malawi is surrounded by which of the 3 following countries?

1)      Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Tanzania

2)      Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania

3)      DR Congo, Zimbabwe and Zambia

We will also post the answer on our Twitter account tomorrow.