Water, Water Everywhere…but not everywhere

At the end of September, NASA launched a missile at the moon. The mission of the LCROSS Project was to determine whether there might have at one time been water left over in a crater caused by a comet’s collision. A missile was launched hoping to explode and cause a plume of water vapor from long frozen water particles to rise fromt he surface of the moon. A probe with sensors flew through this plume to see if indeed there was some remnant of water on the moon. Interesting Sci-fi stuff.

However, all this to me, begs the question “Why?”  What is the point? Do we think that at some time in the future we will be living on the moon? How much water could there be to tap into anyway? Is there enough to sustain a colony or science station? What if there is? What would we do there anyway? I know there are answers to all of these things. I’m not totally opposed to space exploration, but we have to be realistic about it. We were created with this perfect planet. God made this our home and positioned it perfectly in the solarsystem by His design. It is the only place that can sustain life. Any closer to the sun and we’s burn up, any farther away and we’d freeze.

Water on the moon? Okay. What does that do for us here? Did you know…

  • Roughly 12 percent of the world’s population, or 884 million people, do not have access to safe water.
  • About 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation — roughly two-fifths of the world’s population.
  • Approximately 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This is around 5,000 deaths a day.
  • Diarrhea diseases can be reduced by more than 40 percent through the simple practice of washing hands with soap and water.
  • Water-related diseases are the second biggest killer of children worldwide. Number one is acute respiratory infections, such as tuberculosis.
  • Approximately 97.5 percent of the water on earth is saltwater. If all the world’s water could fit in an average bucket, only 1 teaspoon would be drinkable.
  • Nearly 90 percent of water-related diseases are due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene; and most victims are children in developing countries.
  • The average person in the developing world uses a little more than 2.5 gallons of water each day for drinking, washing and cooking.
  • Whereas the average person in the developed world uses 13 gallons per day only for toilet flushing.
  • Every 15 seconds a child dies in Africa from lack of access to clean water

I’m no bleeding heart and I’m not just talking statistics. I’ve actually been there and seen it.

village girls draw water from hand dug well in Burkina Faso
village girls draw water from hand dug well in Burkina Faso
look at how unclean this "drinking water" is as it comes out of the ground
look at how unclean this "drinking water" is as it comes out of the ground
this well being drilled in Burkina was made possible by the Dry Tears Campaign
this well being drilled in Burkina was made possible by the Dry Tears Campaign

An African walks an average of 6.2 miles a day just to get access to water. There is also no guarantee that the water will be clean when they reach it.

Did you know that a hand dug well in Africa only costs about $1500 and can supply water for an entire village. Yet most of the time it isn’t very clean and it doesn’t last as long and can have much disease. However, a drilled well costing around $4000-5000 on average, can supply better, cleaner water because it comes from deeper below the surface. One well is said to be able to supply water for 1000 people, but we saw that the reality is many more than that will use it. Most drilled wells will last many years longer than hand dug wells.

According to The Water Project, $10 will supply one person with water for 10 years…So what did you spend on lunch today?

Now, back to NASA. The LCROSS Project cost $79 million. That’s a low cost mission by NASA standard. Yet to what end was this mission? To simply discover if there might have at one time, many moons ago…sorry! bad pun :)… been a comet the collided with the moon and produced some water vapor that froze there? Okay, so what?  Why are we spending so much money on this?

Consider this…$79 million would provide 17,555 drilled wells in Africa…a place where we KNOW there IS water and where we KNOW there ARE people who need it and can use it for at least the next 10-15 years! That would be enough water for 17.6 MILLION people. That’s more than the population of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi combined! The population of the 28 counties that make up the metro Atlanta area is 4,917,717.

Many of us in this area were inconvenienced a few weeks ago by having to boil water for a few days after the recent flooding. Some were more seriously in need and out of water for several days. Yet, we could get access to it if necessary. We could buy bottled water or, in some cases, we were given it by relief workers. In these third world nations, however, there isn’t a Kroger down the road. And there isn’t relief coming in a few days. And repairs won’t happen in days or weeks to provide clean water. The infrastructure doesn’t exist and the funds simply are not there to produce it. In my trip to Burkina Faso last year, we got the chance to meet with several government officials from regional governors to the mayor of the capital city. All of them said that the number one issue was clean water.

When was the last time you dumped out a half empty water bottle because you didn’t finish it and it got warm in your car? Just think about it next time.

And NASA and anyone in the government who might be listening…which I’m sure no one is…I’m not some liberal greenie who is opposed to space exploration, but why don’t we stop wasting our money on fruitless efforts that have no real meaning and make no real difference in the grand scheme of things; when we could be helping people HERE and NOW. We like to talk about all the needs in the world and how someone whould do something about it. Well, I just gave you one idea that would literally save millions of lives.

Just a thought.

If you want to support some worthy ministries and missions who are digging wells and making a difference check out these sites:

The Dry Tears Campaign (this was started by some local Paulding Co. teenagers)

The Water Project

Blood Water Mission

4 thoughts on “Water, Water Everywhere…but not everywhere

  1. “According to The Water Project, $10 will supply one person with water for 10 years…So what did you spend on lunch today?”

    That’s… amazing. I think so often most people think whatever they contribute will not make a dent in anything, but reading a statement like that turns that to dust.

    Excellent post.

  2. Matt,

    Just thought I’d jump in here and say…yeah, we agree it’s amazing. In fact, it’s why we got involved with this issue in the first place. Personally, I couldn’t believe I had never known of the problem nor that we could have such a profound, long-lasting impact.

    Yesterday we started selling a re-usable water bottle that tells this story. They were donated, so 100% of the purchase price goes to help build a well and support our awareness raising campaigns. We hope they will help share this amazing story with many, many more people.


    Finally, Steve, thanks for a great post and the link!

    Peter Chasse
    President, The Water Project, Inc.

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