Damon co-founded the non-profit Water.org in an attempt to bring attention to something we all take for granted…access to clean drinking water.
He has 4 daughters and empathizes with the plight of women all over the globe who spend all their time collecting water so their family can live.
“If you take away water from a community that means none of the girls are in school because they are scavaging for water.” Damon says. “They have no prospects for a life or a future.”
They walk miles, carry heavy burdens, wait for hours and pay high prices.
The work is back-breaking and all-consuming and the water is often contaminated, even deadly.
Women face an impossible choice – certain death without water or possible death from illness.
Girls join this effort, once they are old enough and spend countless hours trying to provide this basic life necessity.
The water crisis locks women in a cycle of poverty as they cannot attend school or earn an income.
“We had just put in a water system in the rural village and there was a 13 year old girl I took aside to talk to her,” Damon recounted to CNN’s Sanjay Gupta.
She had previously spent 2-3 hours a day collecting water for her family.
“What are you going to do with all your extra time, schoolwork?” Damon asked.
She said, “I don’t need more time for schoolwork. I’m the smartest kid in the class. I’m going to play.”
Water Crisis Impact
The water crisis is the #1 global risk for human devastation.
- 780 million people lack access to clean water
- 2.4 billion people – 1 in 3 – lack access to a toilet
- 3.4 million people die each year from water related diseases
- 600 thousand children a year die from diarrhea
Other lack of water diseases include trachoma, a preventable blindness, starving, malnutrition and arsenicosis which is a long-term exposure to low concentrations of arsenic in drinking-water.
Fluorosis is also a serious bone disease caused by high concentrations of fluoride.
Most of these diseases are almost unheard of in places where basic water supply, sanitation and hygiene prevail.
Bringing Home Awareness
For Damon’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, he used toilet water to draw attention to the widespread lack of clean water around the world.
“Because I co-founded Water.org, and we envision the day when everybody has access to a clean drink of water – and there are about 800 million people in the world who don’t – and so dumping a clean bucket of water on my head seemed a little crazy,” Damon said in responding to a challenge by pals Ben Affleck and Jimmy Kimmel.
The challenge requires participants to either donate money toward amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) research or dump water over their heads.
Damon wanted to contribute but didn’t want to waste clean water.
“This is truly toilet water,” he says as he fills his bucket.
“For those of you like my wife who think this is really disgusting, keep in mind that the water in our toilets in the West is actually cleaner than the water that most people in the developing world have access to.”
“As disgusting as this may seen, hopefully it will highlight the fact that this is a big problem and together we can do something about it,” said Damon, who scooped water out of various toilets in his home before soaking himself.
Damon says this can be fixed through micro financing loans that are less than $100.
Microfinance refers to loans available to poor entrepreneurs and small business owners who have no collateral and wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a standard bank loan.
Water.org has helped 1.6 million people get access to water through these loans.
This is not a charity and the loans are being repaid at 99%.
Throughout the third world these loans have helped entrepreneurs have time and water to grow flowers, mangoes and papayas, braid rope, sew dresses, catch fish which are the core of developing economies.
The practice of microenterprise lending began in the 1980’s and was slow to catch on, but most experts agree that it works.
There is an excellent repayment record for these loans and a “trickle up” effect on the local economy.
“It generates a flow of money,” said Wayne G. Broehl, professor of administration at the Amos Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth to the NY Times.
“And as you heighten the money economy, then you make new opportunities for other people, providing a real multiplier effect.”
The idea of helping cash-strapped entrepreneurs with small-scale loans came from economics professor, Muhammad Yunus.
He argued with conventional bankers that the majority of Bangladeshis, who are landless and illiterate, could still be good credit risks.
So Yunus founded his own bank in 1979.
The bank is 75 percent-owned by its borrowers and operates 330 branches handles 215,000 loans, mostly to women.
The “trickle up” approach represents a dramatic new direction in foreign assistance and has won backing in the United States.
Congress and will direct $50 million this year and $75 million next year to finance third world small-credit programs.
For the Water.org project every $1 invested in water and sanitation provides a $4 economic return.
Their strength and courage transforms communities.
With the support of Water.org and its local partners, women organize their communities to support a well and take out small loans for household water connections and toilets.
They support one another and share responsibility.
These efforts make an impact and take us one step closer to ending the global water crisis.
Water Crisis in the United States
Here in the U.S. we have our own water crisis like the one in Flint Michigan.
Municipal water systems all over the country are failing due to disrepair and budget cuts.
The EPA and FDA are aware that dangerous chemicals and toxins are in the drinking water and while there are standards in place for the maximum amount of contaminants allowed in water, none of these levels are at zero.
There are dangerous toxins in the water we drink from the tap.
Large increases in cancers and other diseases have been reported in places where there has been poor processing of water purification systems.
As a result, many people have been turning to bottle water in order to avoid drinking tap water.
But the problem with any type of bottled water is the containers contain BPA and a myriad of dangerous cancer causing chemicals.
These chemicals are absorbed by the water when it comes in contact with the container.
The best way to guarantee that you are drinking water which is pure would be to install a carbon filter water purification system.
These are cost effective and the best drinking water possible for you and your family.
All municipal water has chemicals and impurities in it, even in the United States.
There are over 2,000 chemicals and poisons that need to be filtered or removed from public drinking water.
The Flint water crisis is just the begining for the U.S. and contaminated water communities are starting to pop up all over the country, not just a poor section of Michigan.
To remove all traces of arsenic, flouride and impurities in your drinking water check out the WAT10W Filtered Water Bottle.
NewAir’s WAT10W Filtered Water Bottle is a unique new accessory for water dispensers.
It sits on top of your water dispenser like an ordinary water bottle.
However, instead of relying on pre-filtered water, the WAT10 filters the water itself.
Just take off the top lid and pour tap water into the upper chamber.
As the water drains down into the bottom chamber, the carbon filter in the middle removes chlorine, odors, sediments, and other dangerous particles.
The water then percolates down into the reservoir, where it’s heated and cooled.
- Can be refilled endlessly from your tap ensuring time and money savings.
- Can be used with all major water dispensers.
- Eliminates chlorine, sediment, and VOCs from your drinking water.
- Filters 211 gallons of water & is refillable preventing environmental waste.
- Made with 100% BPA-free materials to ensure healthy drinking water.
- Purifies water using carbon filtration.
The WAT10 is made with 100 percent BPA-free materials, so the water it provides is always clean and fresh.
The filter lasts for six-months and is a eco-friendly, cost-effective way to enjoy clean drinking water at home.
Best of all, the WAT10W does not need to be removed from the water cooler in order to be refilled, so you don’t have to spend any more time lifting heavy water bottles.
The NewAir WAT10W works with practically every other major water dispenser on the market.
It will remove almost 100% of the toxins and leaves you drinking water with only healthy minerals.
It comes with a one-year warranty and a lifetime of outstanding customer service from NewAir, a name you can trust.