Clean water is a very important part of people’s lives. However, for many poorer nations and communities around the world, access to clean water is limited. Some people have to travel for several miles just to find drinkable water. Many individual people and organizations have tackled this problem, but there is no singular solution to having clean water.
In 2011, World Rowing, the international organization, for rowing began a project with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to give to disadvantaged people the vital thing that makes the sport of rowing possible: water. The alliance began as a way to educate people about the importance of clean, fresh water, not just for humans but also for the environment.
WWF and World Rowing further developed this movement to find an area where water was endangered the most by various threats to water security. Some such threats include the effects of pollution, industry, agriculture, flooding, damming, hydropower, other ecosystems and human consumption. The resulting location was the lower water basin of the Kafue River in Zambia. This basin is a key area for economic resources, but it is also an important home to wetland wildlife and the main source of clean water for locals.
The issue at hand is how to reconcile the importance of the water basin with the harmful environmental effects. If people were to stop using it for industrial and agricultural purposes, the area would lose a large portion of its economic support, which could throw more people into poverty. However, if industry pollution and pesticides continue to contaminate the water, then there will be no safe drinking water.
The project has two goals that, if reached, can help end water insecurity and poverty. The first is to create a world-class water research center at the Kafue River Center. The center will team up with universities and researchers from around the world. Here they can study the effects of pollution, various ways to clean water, the balance of industry and wildlife and much more. The results found here will be open to the public, so that all water sources can benefit from the research.
The center’s second task is to provide a meeting place for all the people involved with this water project and other similar projects around the world.
While the project will do work to clean up the water in the Kafue Basin and provide cleaner water for the people, the research done at this center will help the world. It is a local project with a potentially global impact that can help solve the issue of water resources and poverty by finding a balance for all of the uses of water. The research here will hopefully solve the problems of water usage and water access, problems that keep people in poverty. It will be a balance that can provide sustainability and allow people to bring themselves out of poverty.
– Katherine Hewitt