World Water Day

By Kate Smith (reporter@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Mar. 13, 2013 | Modified: Mar. 13, 2013
World Water Day

In recognition of World Water Day, Samaritan’s Purse is helping to bring water access to the South Sudan state of Northern Bahr el-Ghazal.
Photo courtesy of Samaritan's Purse



Water shapes our bodies and mothers the land, quenches the oceans and purifies the air; it sustains all of life.

And yet, more children die from water-related diseases than AIDS, malaria and measles combined, according to the 2006 United Nations Human Development Report.

World Water Day is March 22, and Appalachian State University’s Wine to Water student chapter and Samaritan’s Purse are holding events to help educate about and distribute this life force.

ASU’s Wine to Water student chapter is holding “Waiting for Water” March 22 at 1 p.m. on Sanford Mall on campus. One of the 13 Social Justice Week events, students will carry containers full of water around campus to get a mild taste of the overseas fight for water. The chapter will have a contact table and information about the water crisis and how to donate to the parent organization.

“I’ve found that we can tell you facts all day long,” volunteer Katy Cook said. “We can tell you that 1 billion people lack access to clean water. We can tell you that every 20 seconds a child dies (from a water-related disease). But until you actually take a moment to put yourself in their shoes, it doesn’t click.”

Donated funds go toward filters and wells. A $35 filter made of sawdust, concrete and silver can be used to provide a Haitian family with clean water for five years. A $65 plastic extension filter can supply 295 gallons of water a day. A $100 gravel and sand filter can support up to 100 Ugandans for 10 years. A $500 well can provide water for up to 200 Cambodians.

The parent Wine to Water hosts nation-wide fundraisers, but the majority of the local events are organized by ASU students. Started by student Josh Elliott, the Wine to Water campus chapter was the first of 10 collegiate chapters for the Boone-based nonprofit and holds events to raise awareness at least twice every semester.

For more information, call Elliott at (828)355-9655 or visit http://www.winetowater.org.

International relief organization Samaritan’s Purse has set a goal for supporters to fund five freshwater South Sudan wells during the work week of March 18 to 22.

A list of fundraising ideas is available at http://www.turnonthetap.org.uk, and Samaritan’s Purse will provide a free T-shirt and water bottle for all organizers of fundraising events.

During this five-day campaign, you can expect to see two or three web articles, two blog posts, a photo blog and daily social media posts, all beneath the theme message, “5 Wells in 5 Days.” Follow them to view the updates at http://www.facebook.com/SamaritansPurse, or follow the blogs through http://www.samaritanspurse.org.

The wells will be installed in an open space in Bahr el Ghazal. After 20 years of civil war, a ceasefire was enacted four years ago, and returnees are safe to come home to their lands. However, returnees are not allowed to set up camp in towns along the way, so based on patterns following past civil wars, Samaritan’s Purse has discovered the three areas where returning Sudanese will set up camp.

Bahr el Ghazal is one of those places, but its closest water supply is five to seven miles away, and after families walk that distance for water, they reach long lines and a dirtied water supply.

“The big difference these wells would make would be that people are healthier and not taking as many days off of work,” said Edward Densham, director of international projects at Samaritan’s Purse. “When they’re not having to spend that five or six hours to walk for water, they can be gardening or cleaning clothes. The kids can go to school.”

Samaritan’s Purse will need to reach its goal of $50,000, or $10,000 for each well – a cost that is higher than average because of the area’s remoteness.

“If people don’t have the financial ability to donate, we ask that they would just pray for the situation,” Densham said. “That’s powerful to us.”

For more information, call (828) 262-1980 or visit http://www.samaritanspurse.org.



About World Water Day

Initiating by the United Nations, World Water Day is held annually on March 22 “as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources,” according to its website.

The UN describes the occasion as “an international day to celebrate freshwater,” which was originally recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The first World Water Day was held March 22, 1993.

Each year, the day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater through events held worldwide, with the focus of 2013 being international cooperation around water.

For more information, visit http://www.unwater.org.

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