World Water Day: Imagine A Day Without Water

05/21/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Amanda Mineer President and Executive Director of Give Clean Water

What if you could change the world? It sounds like a lofty goal, something similar to the dream of world peace.....out of reach, too big, too overwhelming....

BUT...what if you COULD change the world??

Imagine a day without safe drinking water. How would you prepare your bowl of morning oatmeal or make a cup of coffee? How would you brush your teeth? How would you cope with your children being ill simply because of the water they drink?

Imagine a home, a community, or an entire country, where safe drinking water was unavailable; where children and adults contract typhoid, cholera and other water born diseases because of a lack of safe water to drink.

Imagine a country with beautiful, lush, green mountains, ocean views, and the most idyllic landscape. Imagine that this same country has 55 percent of its population suffering from lack of clean, safe, drinking water.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.8 million people die every year from diarrheal diseases. Globally, it is the leading cause of illness and death. 88% of diarrheal deaths are attributed to unsafe water supply, inadequate sanitation and hygiene.

Dirty Water

A water sample, before and after filtration

In the United States and other developed countries, we take for granted the ability to turn our water facet on and have safe, bacteria free water at our finger tips. We forget that many developing countries, even those that we often vacation to, do not have the means or the infrastructure to provide families with safe water to drink. The lack of clean water is gaining awareness around the world. Organizations have been established and the U.N. has dedicated March 22 of each year as World Water Day in an effort to raise awareness. But, what is awareness without action?

Fiji is a country of immense beauty with truly amazing and good-hearted people, but they lack the infrastructure to provide all their citizens with access to clean drinking water. In the past year, Fiji has been hit with devastating tropical storms and flooding. Families have been left without running water and often have to drink from contaminated rivers or wells. This has resulted in a recent outbreak of typhoid and other illnesses attributed to unsafe drinking water. Stomach ailments are an every day occurrence to many children and families in Fiji. These outbreaks can be stopped by providing safe, bacteria free water to every family.

Now imagine being a part of a group of dedicated individuals sharing their time, money, and resources, to ensure that everybody on earth has access to clean drinking water.

Give Clean Water, a nonprofit organization, was established in 2008 with a mission to provide clean, safe drinking water to all on earth who need it. Since that time we have worked with volunteers, organizations like FIJI Water Foundation and private donors to install 1,150 clean water filters in Fiji, giving clean water to over 7,500 people. Our goal is to partner with like minded individuals and organizations to put a clean water filter in the home of every family who does not have access to adequate drinking water.

Lives are being changed! In October 2009, Give Clean Water worked with FIJI Water volunteers to give clean water to every home in the villages of Sasa and Natunuku, two villages severely affected by the flooding. Today, the filters continue to keep the people of Sasa and Natunuku healthy - protecting them, from a recent outbreak of typhoid fever.

As described by a nurse who lives in Sasa: "This has been an immense help to us. We often have water cuts, and have to walk to get water from the family down the road. During the floods, we only had the river. Now we can use this filter to drink from the river or from rain we collect. I will encourage everyone to use this."

Give Clean Water

The Give Clean Water team

The filter placed in the family's home removes 99.999% of all bacteria, protozoa, and cysts like E. coli, cholera and typhoid. With the installation of this filter in a home, no matter the water source, a family can always have access to clean, bacteria free drinking water.

In 2010, we partnered with Convoy of Hope, Behr Paint and Newbreak to provide over 2,700 filters to victims of the Haiti earthquake and will once again partner with volunteers and organizations, including the FIJI Water Foundation, to pursue our goal of installing 3,000-5,000 filters in Fiji this year.

You CAN change the world .... Participate in a trip to Fiji to assist Give Clean Water and the FIJI Water Foundation in giving the gift of clean water to Fiji, donate a filter for a family ($100 per family or $5,000 for an entire village) or simply spread the word about our efforts! With your help, we will change the entire country of Fiji in the next ten years! And if we can change one country, why not the world?

All photos by Tropical Photos by Larson.