Launched in September at Michigan Technological University (MTU) with the Michigan Organization of Residence Halls Associations (MORHA).
Charity:Water and SCOUT BANANA believe that access to clean water is a basic human right, and this year, 2007, we are doing something about it. Charity:Water was founded in 2006 and since has provided people with clean drinking water through construction and rehabilitation projects on wells. Through on-the-ground organizations Charity:Water has built 158 wells in five African countries that will give close to 100,000 people clean drinking water. SCOUT BANANA is an organization dedicated to providing access to basic health care. Access to clean water is extremely important to being and staying healthy as 80% of all sickness is due to unsafe water. In Michigan, we take for granted that we are surrounded by the world’s largest source of freshwater. The Great Lakes hold enough water for each of the 300 million people of the US to have 19 million gallons of water. Between 2000 and 2004, Michigan increased its water use by 1 billion gallons per day (gpd), to almost 11 billion gpd, or 4 trillion gallons per year, with 81% being withdrawn by power plants. This is enough to cover the entire land area of Michigan with 4 inches of water. 89% of water withdrawn in Michigan comes from Great Lakes sources. The remaining 11% comes from inland surface and groundwater sources (DEQ 2004 Report). There is a term in water management known as “unaccounted for” water. This is treated water that leaks from faulty pipes and is completely wasted. This water, ready for usage, that leaks from pipes every year in Detroit alone would be enough to give every person in the combined countries of the Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Liberia, Malawi, and Uganda with 297 gallons of treated water. (www.uswaternews.com, August 2002). In Africa just $20 can give a person clean water for 20 years. The estimated cost of the leak is $23 million worth of water that never reaches homes and businesses, this could provide over one million people with the clean water they so desperately need.
• Over 1.1 billion people on the planet do not have access to clean drinking water.
• 42,000 people will die this week from disease related to poor drinking water. 90 percent of them will be children under age 5.
• A child dies from unsafe water every 15 seconds.
• 80 percent of all sickness on the planet is caused by unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation. It kills 2.2 million people every year. That’s more than all forms of violence, including war.
• Millions of women in developing countries walk 3 miles every day, to get water is likely to make them sick.
The first six wells built and rehabilitated by Charity:Water were in the war-torn region of northern Uganda. In the village of Bobi, 31,000 people now have access to clean water. Here is the story from Charity:Water founder, Scott Harrison.
“20 years of war displaced nearly two million people in Northern Uganda. Seeking solace from Joseph Kony’s rebel soldiers, they gathered in camps for safety. Bobi is the largest IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp in the Gulu Province. When I visited in August, I found 31,638 people living there. They drank from only one working well. On October 24th our partners on the ground in Northern Uganda used those contributions to begin work in Bobi. The rehabilitation of 3 broken hand pumps and 3 newly constructed wells were completed in November. Water committees were formed and trained to maintain the new water sources. The wells have transformed the lives of the 31,638 men, women and children living there. Bobi, one of the most hopeless and depressing places I’ve ever visited in Africa, now looks to the future with hope and health.”
(CIA, The World Factbook)
• Slightly smaller than Oregon with a population of over 30,250,000.
• Life expectancy at birth is approximately 52 years.
• The high rates of HIV/AIDS have significantly increased mortality, impacting life expectancy and population.
• There is a very high risk for contracting waterborne diseases including: bacterial infections, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever.
• 35% of the population lives below the poverty line with average income at $1,500.
• The country hosts over 250,000 refugees from Sudan, the DRC, and Rwanda, along with 1 million internally displaced peoples (IDPs).
• Agriculture employs 80% of the workforce. The major export of the country is coffee.
To Fetch A Pail of Water
Of all the water on earth, 97.5% is salt water. The remaining 2.5% is fresh water, 70% is frozen in the polar ice caps and the other 30% is soil moisture or lies in underground aquifers. In all, less than 1% of the world’s fresh water is readily accessible for direct use. Moreover, there is a natural inequity in resource distribution that allows some countries to be rich in water, while others struggle.