The average American uses 123 gallons of water per person per day for things like showers, washing clothes and toilets. When someone tells me to change a nozzle on my sprinkler to save water, it’s hard to comprehend this little gesture makes a difference. 4500 babies die everyday as a result of no water or unclean water. Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s 1 in 8 of us. Diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Because water is regional, it doesn’t matter how much water I save in my hometown of La Jolla, California. It won’t save those people in other countries who have to walk miles to gather all the water they consume. Or maybe it could.
I thought I was having a bad day the other day when my espresso maker went on the fritz and I had to go without my morning latte. Then I read Alan’s blog “Water is Free” and I thought about how fortunate we are to have such easy access to water. Imagine having to gather all the water we use on a daily basis, a few gallons at a time, by walking to the local stream and carrying it back home.
I’ve actually thought about this a lot and it’s why I started working with the charitable organization charity: water. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. It was founded five years ago by former NYC nightclub promoter, Scott Harrison. After ten years selling a decadent lifestyle to the city’s top influencers, Scott was “spiritually bankrupt” and decided to dedicate the rest of his life to service. He got a job as a photojournalist off the coast of Liberia on a hospital ship. While working there, he came face to face with the reality of the water crisis—meeting individuals who were suffering from waterborne diseases that were preventable. He found his life’s mission.
The goal at charity: water is to solve the world’s water crisis in our lifetime. In five short years they’ve spearheaded 4,000 water projects, providing 2 million people with access to clean, safe water. They are well on their way. When charity: water was founded, they made a dedication to give 100% of all public donations directly to water projects, funding operating costs through corporate sponsors and private donors. They even go so far as to pay back credit card fees for online transactions so that 100% of your money goes straight to those in need.
Over the summer I met with Sarah Cohen at charity: water and we developed the Pay it Forward Program. I may not be able to ship the water I save at home to the places that need it most, but I can take some of the money I’m saving as a result of using less irrigation water and donate it to an excellent charity like charity: water. It’s really what I call found money. We are saving customers literally thousands of dollars every year as a result of smart irrigation practices.
Here is a challenge: Track the savings and donate a percentage to charity: water. Pay it forward and solve the problem of getting the water to where it is needed most.
I hope World War III never happens, but if it does, I think it’s going to be fought over water. I have a strong desire to change the way we have been managing irrigation water. Call this a water revolution or call it out of the box thinking. I like to think of it as our professional responsibility to the industry to lead the change. It’s about wanting to do what is right for the future. It’s about saving lives. I hope you will accept the challenge and decide to do something good with your savings.