Sustainable development is a phrase you hear a lot these days. It refers to a way of doing things that meet the needs of people right now in a way that doesn’t compromise the planet for future generations. There’s a whole UN report on it here.
Sustainable water projects generally have two elements — the “technology” of clean water delivery, which can be as simple as building a well, and education, so people know how to avoid polluting their water system.
Here are four amazing water sustainability projects that are making a difference:
1) Water For People
Established in 1991, Water For People was developed out of the American Water Works Association and has projects in Latin America, Africa and India.
Their project in Tiraque, Bolivia, is helping to provide clean water to local communities. In Uchuchi Kancha, a community within Tiraque, that has meant a gravity-fed water system that reaches each of the 63 families in the community.
Water For People also have a rather helpful online reporting portal so you can track the progress on each of their projects.
2) Clear Cambodia
In Cambodia, large numbers of the rural population don’t have access to safe drinking water. Clear Cambodia works with rural populations to install water purification technology such as BioSand Filters in households and villages.
A BioSand Filter looks like a tall box and works by filtering dirty water through sand, gravel and a ‘biofilm’ layer to remove solid particles and unseen bacteria. It’s an effective and relatively cheap solution for cleaning contaminated water and is used by poverty-stricken communities all over the world.
Over the last few years, Clear Cambodia has installed more than 150,000 of these filters in households around the country.
3) One Drop
Founded by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté in 2007, One Drop uses an approach it calls the “ABC of sustainability” – that’s (A) providing access to clean water, (B) facilitating behavioral change, and (C) providing capital in the form of microloans and training for investment.
Its India project won a UN Water Best Practices Award in 2015 for its community mobilisation and education work. The project included innovative ideas to get its message across, including the production of a Bollywood-style movie.
4) Water Wise Coffee Project
Well, of course we had to put Water Wise in here too! It’s a great project that is helping coffee farmers around the world clean up their local water supplies.
Processing coffee can produce a great deal of waste that is often allowed to get into local rivers. The Water Wise projects helps coffee wet mills to avoid this problem by separating the coffee and turning it into compost, and cleaning the waste water using natural Vetiver grass.
You can learn more about the Water Wise Coffee Project here.