Creating Hope: Clean and Accessible Water

On April 22nd, the world celebrated Earth Day 2019 and we hope all reflected on ways to improve and save this beautiful planet and its living flora, fauna and people.  Along that theme, did you know the earth’s surface is comprised of over 71% water? So the earth certainly cannot exist with polluted waters or scarcity of water… and neither can people.


841 million people woke up today without basic access to safe water.

The global water and sanitation crisis is one of the world’s leading problems with one in every six people lacking access to safe drinking water. Together, unsafe water and the inaccessibility of basic sanitation are leading contributors to extreme poverty.

Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water-stressed countries of anywhere on the planet and of an estimated 800 million people who live in Africa, 300 million live in a water-stressed environment.  In Tanzania, only 50 percent of the population have access to an improved source of safe water. Under these circumstances, women and girls (seen as the collectors and guardians of water especially within the domestic realm) in particular, spend around 60% of each day traveling some distance to collect water. 

In contrast…

Aquafina, Belu, Cool Blue, Dasani, Evian, Fiji Water, Glaceau, Himalaya, Ice Mountain, Jana, Kellogg’s Protein Water, La Croix, Mountain Valley Spring Water, Nestle Pure Life, Ozarka, Perrier, Quench Mineral Water, Radenska, San Pelligrino, Trump Ice, Ultra Pure Water, Voss, Whispering Springs, Xenia, Yukon Spring, Zephyrhills.  

What is this mis mesh of words?  We just named a brand of bottled water, A-Z for each letter of the alphabet, produced by developed countries. And these are only 26 of over 3,000 different bottled water brands sold in 2019.

The average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 15 percent of which is devoted to watering lawns and gardens. One leaky faucet leaking 10 drips every minute wastes 526 gallons of water per year. Similar figures of water usage can be calculated by other developed nations such as Germany, Mexico and Russia on a per capita basis.

The implications of water

Water is intrinsically tied to inclusive economic growth, improved education, food security, and poverty reduction.

With a complete lack of water, humans can only live up to 5 days on average. This often forces those living in water deprived regions to turn to unsafe water resources. At any given point, 50% of hospital beds are occupied by those with water borne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery and diarrhea.  When infected with these water borne diseases, those living in African communities suffering from water scarcity cannot contribute to the community's productivity and development.

Along with frequent illness and death, children who do not have safe drinking water are more likely to drop out of school. Their parents, weighed down by expensive medical fees, struggle to afford tuition and saving money becomes nearly impossible.

Poverty is directly related to the accessibility of clean drinking water- without it, the chances of breaking out of the poverty trap are extremely slim. This concept of a "water poverty trap" was developed by economists specifically observing sub-Saharan Africa and refers to a cycle of financial poverty, low agricultural production, and increasing environmental degradation.

City of Hope: Our Hope for Clean Water 

At City of Hope we work to bring clean water to the children and the community to alleviate the burden of collection so all can focus their energy and attention on education and productivity. We have drilled two wells and one produces water – it is pumped twice a day to its maximum, which supplies just enough drinking water for the children and the guest house. For the rest of our water needs, we are currently dependent on rain water. We have built cisterns accompanying every building to collect water off the roofs, however when the dry season is extended, we must augment with our children fetching water from a spring a half mile away. However, with enough funding, all this can change.

Our hopes and plans are to be fully equipped on-site with clean water for all at City of Hope.  With some of your caring donations thus far, we bought land in 2018 with a spring and have already dug a reservoir to collect the water. We now need to reinforce the walls with concrete.  Once that is done, our plan is to build a large water tower at our medical center (the highest point on our property) and then lay a pipe to pump water from the reservoir, filter and distribute it throughout City of Hope!

So, as we reflect on Earth Day and the importance of treasuring our natural resources as well as rebalancing access to these critical resources so all can have hope and opportunity for health, education and success… we ask you to keep our children in mind.  And please do not also forget what you can do to save the planet that feeds our children and our future.

Ashley Gendron