Water has been on our minds lately. When our water supply is threatened, as during a drought, our appreciation of water as a precious natural resource is suddenly more acute. When it is lacking, we do everything in our power to conserve it. When the rains come, and they always do, our water supply and the health of our forests return to where they belong. Once restored, we use water again in abundance. Local organizations, such as the Roaring Fork Conservancy, remind us of our obligations to conserve on a continuing basis. But even with these efforts, we tend to take water for granted, especially our abundant supply of clean drinking water.
More than 2 million people die each year because they lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. Rotarians around the world are mitigating these problems and saving lives. In the Dominican Republic, members of Canadian, Caribbean and U.S. Rotary clubs have helped bring 19,000 bio-sand filters to homes, schools and clinics in 300 communities, providing clean water to 100,000 people. Rotary clubs in Canada, Ghana, Switzerland and the United States have worked with the Ghana Health Service and the
U.S.-based Carter Center to drill boreholes and install wells in more than 75 towns and villages in Ghana, greatly reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases nationwide. In Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe, local Rotary clubs are participating in projects to provide wells, water storage and purification, irrigation, and toilets for improved sanitation. These projects are mostly at schools, clinics or homes for children or the elderly. In India, local Rotarians handed out water filters to schools in seven villages after flash floods polluted wells, causing high alkaline levels.
Hundreds more water projects are in line this year to stave off death and disease to countless victims around the world. The Snowmass Rotary Club will contribute funds this year to at least one of these water projects. The upcoming Snowmass Wine Festival and Wine Dinner, Sept. 14 and 15, will help us raise funds needed for local and international causes, such as water projects. This is an event not to be missed.