“When people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families.”—Rotary International
The problem of access to clean water seemed to me to be one that was thousands of miles away. I have seen the images of mothers and children carrying heavy jars of water over rural dusty roads, but only on TV. Perhaps just as you do, I drink clean water, shower, and water my garden without thinking much about it. Until recently, I had not fully grasped that access to clean water is not only a third-world problem, it is a state and local problem, and it is a huge problem claiming the lives of thousands of people around the world.
I did not understand that the issue of lack of access to or the contamination of water sources disproportionately impacts our poorest neighbors even though the State of California has declared “... every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water adequate for human consumption, cooking, and sanitary purposes.”
Predictably, this issue has become politicized. (Read the LA Times on Gov. Newsom’s Water Tax.) Big questions are being raised. Who is to blame? Who will clean it up? How are we going to deliver it? Who is going to pay for it? While these questions are important, we cannot lose sight of the core issue—that clean water must be made available to all people and Rotarians must commit to being a part of the solution that will make it so.
In the coming year, the Rotary Club of Los Angeles will explore the issues surrounding access to clean water and we will consider ways to join with Rotarians around the world and at home to support those without access to this precious resource. So much falls apart when clean water is not reliably available to all.
To learn more about the ways Rotarians are currently engaged in clean water projects, visit the links below: