We all know how precious water is. My boyfriend, a Catalan with his Western European sensibilities, calls its liquid gold. I agree, but still my American upbringing sometimes shades out the severity of the global water situation.
This tweet posted by water.org set me straight:
@Water In 1 day, women spend 200 MILLION hrs collecting water. That's = to constructing 28 Empire State Bldgs http://bit.ly/h94EYh #wwweek
Here's the full water.org link, if the bit.ly one doesn't work.
Of course, I clicked on the link and read the brief story. Again, another eye-opening nudge. I had two jolting reactions. First, I thought how incredibly fortunate I am to have a sink with water flowing at will and with a quick turn of a faucet. At about the same, I felt my own stress levels rise. The worldwide lack of water is largely a women's crisis, and women must dutifully make this their daily quest to survive. And, I'm fretting about how many Twitter followers I have, something so trivial in the face of a deepening issue that lacks clear solutions.
The next thought was a question. How can this be changed? Many people are trying, folks like Ari Olmos, for instance. Back in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, an industry conference thats attracts 60,000 or so telecommunications executives, I met Olmos, a departmental fellow in the Masters program at the Goldman School of Public Policy at University of California at Berkeley. He and his colleagues started NextDrop [http://nextdrop.org/]. The organization, working primarily in India right now, provides households with timely information about local piped water delivery and intermittent water supply via cell phones. I distinctly remember thinking, "That's brilliant. Couldn't other folks do that too, given the proliferation of cell phones throughout the developing world?"
I don't have the answer, but the question stands: How can we better use existing technology and tweak it to create a low-cost water-finding model that could easily be replicated in many places simultaneously?
Any other ideas about how we can lessen this burden, not just for women, but for the world?