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Goal Met!

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Hey there readers!

I just wanted to let you all know that we have reached the WaterWalk goal!

I received an email from Dr. Bruce Clemens this morning saying that a little over $25,000 was raised for this project!

Thank you to everyone who read this blog, came out to the WaterWalk, our other events, and donated in order to make our dream of providing water to villages in Guatemala a reality.

If you want to learn more about the organization we are working with please
click here

Thanks again!!!

Jordan Sandwick

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Waste Not, Want Not

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Lastly I want to talk about the pressures that come with the population and industrialization.

In one of my posts I talked about water scarcity and it is important to note that water scarcity does not occur solely through natural causes. There are some cases where it can be due to human actions that are preventable if we are more cautious.

One thing that developing countries probably all have in common is that they are striving to be DEVELOPED. There are consequences of development though, one of which is that the industries and growth must not be supported by the same amount of natural resources that were available in the first place.

Coca-Cola’s challenges with water use  in India is the example of this that I chose to use. Coca Cola has tremendously benefitted India because it has provided jobs, income, and more economic prowess to India due to its presence. However, not all of the impacts have been positive.

This article in the economist highlights the misuse of water resources In India and how this has been problematic. Many farmers and villagers are complaining because Coca-Cola is using too much of the water supply in Rajasthan that is already prone to drought.

Rajasthan, India

I also found this video clip that I think summarizes the issue fairly well.

Indian Farmers, Coca-Cola Vie for Scarce Water Supply

While Coca-Cola has responded to these complaints and promised to be more responsible, it is hard to tell how much is just talk and will soon be superseded by the drive to make a profit.

It is important to remember that industry, development, and change are a good thing. However, being a steward of our natural resources, like water, is just as instrumental in the success of any communities ability to grow and prosper.

Jordan

Risks and Inequalities Caused by Lack of Water

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I wanted to take the points from the MDG’s in the last post and put them into broader categories that make it easier to see how they impact communities, so here is what I came up with:

Health Risks: Lack of clean water leads to many mosquito and water borne illnesses. Improper sanitation and treatment of waste leads to the death of a child every 20 seconds

3.41 million people die each year from contaminated water, poor sanitation and hygiene-related causes each year.*

Illiteracy and unnecessary risk:  Having access to water can mean the difference between whether or not a child goes to school that day. Women and children (especially girls) bear most of the burdento collect water on a daily basis. Also, if women and children do not have to travel long distances to reach a source of water they will not be put into the unnecessary dangers that surround them that are associated with war, human trafficking, and other dangers.  Not to mention the huge amount of productivity and working time that is lost (estimates are around 200 million hours daily around the world) because they must travel approximately 3 to 4 miles for water. Some statistics show that 11% more girls attend school when potable water is available and are able to continue their education. Illiteracy and lack of education only serves to perpetuate the cycle of poverty that developing countries face. Creating an environment where women can work and children can receive an education is imperative in order to break this cycle.

With the provision of a source of clean and safe water, there can be higher productivity, more education, less disease and death, and more agriculture and livelihood which helps to build more successful communities and better living conditions.

There is one other major risk that is associated with water, and it has a lot to do with man-made drought and the impacts that may occur with increased pressure on water sources. I am going to talk about that in my next post.

Until then,

Jordan

*World Health Organization. (2008). Safer Water, Better Health: Costs, benefits, and sustainability of interventions to protect and promote health.

8 Ways Water Matters

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Water is essential to the growth and development of any community because it effects some of the most necessary aspects. Hygiene, education, prevention of unnecessary risk, alleviation of poverty, and less pressure on water resources are all  a part of keeping a healthy community.

I was able to find a list of the Millennium Development Goals on the UN website :

  • MDG 1: Access to water for domestic and productive uses (agriculture, industry, and other economic activities) has a direct impact on poverty and food security.
  • MDG 2: Incidence of catastrophic but often recurrent events, such as droughts, interrupts educational attainment
  • MDG 3: Access to water, in particular in conditions of scarce resources, has important gender related implications, which affects the social and economic capital of women in terms of leadership, earnings and networking opportunities.
  • MDGs 4 and 5: Equitable, reliable water resources management programmes reduce poor people’s vulnerability to shocks, which in turn gives them more secure and fruitful livelihoods to draw upon in caring for their children.
  • MDG 6: Access to water, and improved water and wastewater management in human settlements, reduce transmission risks of mosquito-borne illnesses, such as malaria and dengue fever.
  • MDG 7: Adequate treatment of wastewater contributes to less pressure on freshwater resources, helping to protect human and environmental health.
  • MDG 8: Water scarcity increasingly calls for strengthened international cooperation in the fields of technologies for enhanced water productivity, financing opportunities, and an improved environment to share the benefits of scarce water management.

In my next post I am going to try and sum this up and show exactly how many of these effect the development of communities.

Jordan

Quantity and Quality

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When discussing the water crisis that so many face (over 1 billion people are affected), the two main reasons water is not available is due to concerns of quality and quantity. While there is enough freshwater on the planet for six billion people, it is distributed unevenly and too much of it is wasted, polluted and managed unsustainably.

First I want to define the term “water scarcity” to make sure we are all on the same page:

The UN website, Water for Life defines water scarcity as the point at which the aggregate impact of all users impinges on the supply or quality of water under prevailing institutional arrangements to the extent that the demand by all sectors, including the environment, cannot be satisfied fully. Water scarcity is a relative concept and can occur at any level of supply or demand. Scarcity may be a social construct (a product of affluence, expectations and customary behaviour) or the consequence of altered supply patterns – stemming from climate change for example.

Never mind, let me sum up: water scarcity is the imbalance between the availability and demand of water to a population.

There are two kinds of water scarcity: economic and physical.

Physical water scarcity is based on geographic location, such as deserts, although physical water scarcity can also be due to man made causes like pollution and over-use.

Economic scarcity is when there is a lack of infrastructure necessary to take water from rivers and aquifers and provide it to a community. This type of infrastructure is extremely expensive and time consuming to create, so while water may technically be available, it cannot be accessed.

There is some overlap between the two because it can also be caused due to the erosion of river beds, the contamination of ground and surface water as well as competition for water between communities and other conflicts which all affect water accessibility.

Yes there should be plenty of water to satiate the thirst of all of us here on Earth, however, many struggle on a daily basis to get the amount they need to just exist. In my next post I am hoping to touch on what these struggles are and their effect.

Jordan Sandwick

WaterWalk Success

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I was just at the WaterWalk and the Soccer Extravaganza today and it was fantastic! I stayed for a couple hours (no I did not skip any of my classes) and I saw so many people come out and show their support. From the athletic teams to the students to the faculty and staff, Furman really rallied together today for these events. More than 400 people participated in our WaterWalk.  The Water Walk was a mass simulation of the mile trek that millions throughout the developing world experience in their quest for drinkable water.  Participants carried water bottles and containers of various sizes to help raise awareness that access to clean water demands our immediate attention.

You can click on any of the images below to view them larger or to see descriptions:

Thanks to everyone who came out today, Furman soccer, and the countless professors, students, organizations and many others who made this day possible.

However, the work isn’t over yet. Furman students and alumni have already raised $4,000 to fund an entire potable water system, but we need your help.

The Duke Endowment has generously committed to match gifts by any student, alumni or other donor. The project needs only $8,500 of further support to be fully funded. Any and all donations that you are able to make are gratefully welcomed with enthusiasm (just click here ), not only by those of us here at Furman, but the people of Esperanza San Antonio, Guatemala. Today when I was speaking with Dr. Bruce Clemens he said that he had emailed the link to this blog on to those in Guatemala and they were incredibly thankful and overwhelmed by the support being offered through this project.

Also, I feel like I have been neglecting to write about some of the more serious issues and the specifics about what and where lack of water and sanitation is seen around the world so be on the look out for that post which I am hoping to have up soon!

Jordan

P.S. If you are interested in purchasing one of the Guatemala t-shirts sold during the WaterWalk please contact Nancy Cooper at the Heller Service Corp at Furman University. The phone number is (864) 294-2900 and her email is nancy.cooper@furman.edu
Also feel free to stop by the Heller Service Corp office that is located in the upper level of the University Center.

Walk it Out

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It’s only a day away!

The Furman WaterWalk is tomorrow and campus has been hopping over the past week with informative and creative events to spark interest.

I found a few displays set up in the university center and outside of the library:

This was set up to encourage people to sign up for the WaterWalk and the Soccer Extravaganza

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And this was outside the library to raise awareness of the water crisis that is going on around the world.

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Also, John Tynan came to speak at Furman today about water issues. He is the Deputy Director of Upstate Forever and serves on the Greenville (SC) Water Utilities Commission.

Tomorrow there will be two ways that you can get involved here at Furman:

The WaterWalk will begin at 9 am and continue until 4 pm starting at the Furman football practice field located next to the Eugene Stone Soccer Stadium and behind the physical activity center. Those who volunteer will walk about one mile carrying containers to select areas around campus.

The goal of the event is to raise $12,500 to match a grant that was received earlier, in order to have enough funds to complete a potable water system in a village called Esperanza San Antonio, Guatemala.

The Guatemala Soccer Extravaganza will also be taking place at the same time in Eugene Stone Stadium. Matches begin at 10 am and go until 3:30 pm. Anyone can make a team and join and many organizations, athletic teams, clubs, fraternities, sororities, faculty and staff have made teams and agreed to play. Everyone who participates receives a pledge sheet and get people to sponsor them. There will also be t-shirts for sale and those funds will go to the Guatemalan water project as well.

Be sure to stop by around 12:30 for the most anticipated match of the day when Furman’s faculty and staff will be playing one another. Who doesn’t get a kick out of watching college professors scramble around wearing their most competitive faces and trying their very hardest not to trip over their dignity 🙂  And when the match ends President Smolla will be addressing everyone who is at both the WaterWalk and the soccer field.

When I asked the head soccer coach, Doug Allison, why he wanted to get his team behind this project, he said, “I just wanted to see the Furman campus join together behind a great cause. When President Smolla and later Dr. Bruce Clemens approached me with the idea that we host our annual soccer extravaganza adjacent to the WaterWalk I thought it was a great idea. The past couple of years we have hosted them in order to help those who have gone through a natural disaster. I am happy to see us being able to team up with this organization for such a good cause.”

Oh, and don’t worry about getting hungry! Furman University International Students Association will be hosting an international food festival and the Furman “Paladog” hotdog stand will be close by in case anyone gets the munchies.

So grab some sunglasses and your friends and come out for a great day! We hope to see everyone there!

Jordan Sandwick