Making Clean Water Abundance a Reality

Abundant water seems like an oxymoron.

In the U.S., water is a luxury. The average American uses 170 gallons of water per day around the house. The average family of four uses 12,775 gallons of water per year just to flush the toilet! Let me ask you this: would you be willing to spend hours every day walking miles to collect your water?

One billion people don’t even have access to clean water — that would equate to one in six U.S. citizens!

Around the globe, millions of women and children do just that–about 40 pounds strapped on their back–keeping them from school and work. Their average water use: 5 gallons per day. I’d have to drink at least 3 to recover from such rigorous effort. And I don’t think I’d be carrying 170 gallons, either.

The not-for-profit Abundant Water (AW) does not believe abundant water has to be an oxymoron.

Water is essential to healthy and sustainable communities.  A safe water supply is integral to agricultural, urban and rural life and greatly affects an individual’s health as well as children’s growth and community viability. Securing a safe and healthy water supply has profound health benefits for individuals and also aids in the development and independence of communities.

Founded by 29-year old Sunny Forsyth, AW is a community from all walks of life and continents, working together to facilitate the training of village potters in the manufacture of clay-pot water filters (developed in Canberra, Australia) that remove bacteria found in dirty water.

“It’s incredible to think that in this day and age, unclean drinking water still kills more people than war,” says Forsyth.

The filters, amazingly enough, are made from natural materials found everywhere. Dirt and coffee grounds are just one possible mixture — fired in burning cow dung — demonstrated in the short video below:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

AW got their feet wet (pardon the play on words) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic following a cholera outbreak and trained a local potter in the technique of making the clay pot water filters so that she may train other local potters.

“Using this relatively simple clay pot system, we can remove bacteria that cause cholera, typhoid and dysentary, among others,” according to Forsyth. “Importantly, a key part of our approach is training local potters to produce these filters themselves–thus providing sustainable income as well as a lifetime supply of clean drinking water.”

The United Nations has set a target to halve the number of people without access to clean drinking water by 2015… that means around 125,000 people per day.

AW aims to make a contribution to this goal by hosting a fundraiser event in July in Canberra, Australia. Money raised will be used to provide their trained potter the means to train potters in 8 Laos villages to make filters for their own communities, who in turn will add to the Ripple Effect through training more potters in new villages.

You can help by donating $8 for 8 villages or attend the Ripple Effect fundraiser event July 3, 2010.

Here’s an animated video explaining our global water crisis:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

More about Abundant Water. Sunny Forsyth created Abundant Water in 2008 when he became aware of the lack of access to safe drinking water in rural communities in Laos while working as an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development.

“We are learning that the true meaning of ‘abundance’ is generosity and sharing. We are finding that it is not the scarcity of resources that limits development and progress but the unwillingness to share our knowledge and our lives. Through collaborating on this project we are breaking down barriers and borders and discovering our humanity and our global community.”

Currently, a training regime is under development to share the technology and model with Fremma, a Ugandan national, to introduce the Abundant Water model to the Nakivale Refugee Camp in Uganda. A training regime is also being developed with the Yurauna Centre at the Canberra Institute of Technology to share the technology and model with Indigenous Australian potters.

To learn more about Abundant Water, visit their website at Please join their facebook page and follow them on twitter @abundantwater.

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