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The Deadly Seep: How Water Kills

In June 2011 the American Water Work Association awarded the Greenville Water System was awarded the name of “Best of the Best” in a taste test for excellence. In an era in which we go to the trouble to taste test our water like fine wines, it seems unfathomable that human life is taken due to contaminated water.

The Greenville Water System supplies over 350,000 people with pure, safe, great tasting water. Yet some still seek out bottled water to look trendy or save the trouble of filling a reusable container. Meanwhile in other countries, dirty water is the cause of about 5,000 deaths a day, and almost a billion do not have a source of clean water. More children die from water related illness than from AIDS, malaria and measles combined.

Last night, after hours of studying here at Furman University, I stumbled to the nearest faucet to take on last drink before sleepily shuffling back to the room. This has become a routine for me. Meanwhile, in many developing countries, people walk more than a mile to the nearest well in order to retrieve their daily water. In fact, women spend 200 million hours per day collecting water. Chances are they won’t be wasting this precious resource on a midnight hankering.

Fortunately, in the home of the best tasting drinking water, Furman is taking the effort to seriously study and examine this issue. Over the past few months a group composed of Furman students and faculty has come together as the Global Issues Forum. Each term, GIF will take on a significant topic. This term: Water provision.

The ideas of GIF are innovative. Speakers, CLP’s and other promotions are in the works, along with a large event called a Water Walk on April 13.  The Water Walk will entail people signing up, donating money, and then walking a designated mileage. The walk will represent the distance that many people in developing nations trek everyday in order to reach a water source. All of the proceeds raised by the Water Walk will be donated directly to a foundation that provides wells to villages in South and Central America which Furman professor, Dr. Bruce Clemens, is closely associated.

But you don’t have to walk a mile at Furman to show your concern.

According to, over 90 percent of deaths in the developing world occur among children under 5 years of age. The cause? Unsafe water that leads to diseases and eventual death. Many Furman students are already taking part, but GIF is hoping to see even more people become involved. So come to an event, participate in the Water Walk, or donate a little money in order to help provide those in need with clean water.

Providing purified water is one of the easiest ways to ward off infectious diseases that afflict people in developing countries. Coupled with health and hygiene education the results would be incredible. Everyone should be able to enjoy the benefits of clean water.

As a place with such natural blessings, we should give, lest we look like water snobs.

– Jordan Sandwick. Senior Political Science major at Furman University.


3 responses »

  1. Awesome job, Jordon! When do I get to meet you face to face. A number of these photos were shot by a professional photographer and great buddy, Andy Karp – the happy customer from an Agua del Pueblo project in particular. The shot of the students and younger buddies was shot in San Andres, San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala. This is an incredible opportunity for Furman students and Greenville residents to “walk a mile” in the shoes of most humans on the planet. Here in Greenville we have SO much for which to be thankful. Participating in the water walk is one way to remember how lucky we are…

  2. Jordan,can you share with me your sources on this post? I am working a group from my church on providing water purification systems for Haiti and I could use these stats in our marketing. Since I volunteer at a Malnutrician Center in Guatemala, I patricularly appreciated the photos of the work that Furman students are doing to help the people there. Thanks! Cathy Slusser, Class of 1980 (

    • Hi Cathy! A lot of my statistics I have gotten from some great sources like and the UNICEF website. If you go to the page labeled resources and links you should be able to click and get rerouted to the page. Thanks! The photos are mostly from my own travels and Dr. Bruce Clemens, as well as students. We have been able to get some good ones!
      Feel free to share this blog or any of the stats that I use if it helps with your project for church!
      God bless,


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