Ensuring clean water for the world

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By Special to the Monitor

An upcoming fundraiser is presenting the community with a win-win situation.

Participants at the fundraiser can treat themselves to a meal and an evening out while supporting a worthy cause.

The fundraiser dinner will be held from 5:30-                8 p.m. March 20 at Fuller Lodge. The goal is raise $4,300 for a clean drinking water project for Panama’s community of Bajo Casicon. Speakers from Waterlines, a publicly-funded, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Santa Fe, will talk about how Waterlines aids U.S. organizations in providing clean drinking water to communities in developing countries.

Kevin Baker, a sous-chef in Denver and a graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, will prepare the meal.

Tickets are $25 apiece at Brownell’s Hallmark. Guests will have the opportunity to make separate, tax-deductible donations directly to Waterlines to support this cause.

A group of Los Alamos volunteers have organized this event to raise money to construct a gravity flow system to pipe water from a clean water source to a community of about 170 people in Bajo Casicon.

Currently, the community has no access to a reliable potable water source and relies on fetching their water from nearby streams, most of which are located at the bottoms of very steep hillsides and have a high probability of being contaminated by the lack of sanitary services. 

David Douglas, president of Waterlines, wrote in his 2008 Annual Report: “My work with water began in 1985 writing magazine articles about the global drinking water issue.

“I was stunned by the casualty toll by 20 diseases associated with inadequate water and sanitation—cholera, typhoid, schistosomiasis, guinea worm, trachoma, amoebic dysentery, hookworm — to name a few … During the 1980s I interviewed hundreds of water experts, but I didn’t know enough then to call the problem by its right name: the most serious public health problem in the world.

“These diseases caused by inadequate water and sanitation kill and sicken more people than AIDS, TB, and malaria and astonishingly cause half the world’s malnutrition.

This should be unacceptable.”

Waterlines has provided funding and/or technical expertise for drinking-water projects in more than 400 communities in 12 countries including Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Bolivia, Peru, Nicaragua, Haiti, the Philippines, India, Honduras, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Waterlines works in small villages, usually with populations between 200 and 2,000 people, where existing water sources are contaminated or distant.

The success of an effort hinges on the members of the community involved.

Waterlines’ initial ability to work in a certain area depends upon the invitation of the community itself, a clearly drafted proposal from a local water committee, commitment by community members to perform the labor and long-term agreement to keep the water system maintained.

Technical volunteers who work abroad are reimbursed for travel and in-country expenses. All contributions to Waterlines go directly toward the drinking water projects, not to overhead expenses.  

For more information you may contact Linda Ivie at 690-4903.