Water, Water Everywhere
Updated: Mar 18, 2022
“A man of wisdom delights in water.” -Confucius
*This article is the result of a collaborative effort between Jorge (Agua Stake Pool), Brian (Gaia Stake Pool) and Nick (Lighthouse Stake Pool) and Traveler Jo.
The Cardano community is a diverse, global enterprise. We speak varying languages and sometimes differ in our priorities. However one thing is ubiquitous - we all need safe water to survive. According to the WHO, over 785 million people globally did not have safe water to drink in 2017. Unsafe water can transmit diseases such as dysentery, cholera and polio. In places without adequate medical facilities, diarrhea can be deadly. In fact over 450,000 deaths a year are attributed to contaminated water. And in the least developed countries, 22% of medical facilities do not have water or waste removal service, adding to the spread of disease.
Additionally, water availability is also impacted by climate change. According to UNICEF, over 70% of natural disasters between 2001 and 2018 were weather related. These types of disasters can contaminate existing water sources. Rising sea levels are also increasing the salinity of water sources, making them undrinkable. This means that in many areas the struggle for water access will only worsen over time. Water will become more and more scarce. Therefore water conservation and education is increasingly important.
Most of the people reading this article never have to think about water. It is easily available at the tap. Please take a moment and imagine how your day would change if you had no reliable access to water. How much time would you lose if you had to walk miles to get water and then return home? What if you had to constantly boil water before consuming it? What if your hospital didn’t have any clean water access? Even if, through ingenuity and great cost, you obtained safe water, how much time was spent just getting your drinking water? Now imagine this cycle repeats itself every day. Our friends in the developing world can spend most of their day procuring water and food, leaving little time for anything else. Conversely in the developed world, we are so busy producing plastics, and shipping plastic waste, that we have contaminated multitudes of oceans and rivers.
While water access and conservation is a global concern, there is no one size fits all resolution. The best solution, of course, varies depending on the geographic location and the skills of those involved. In this blog we are looking at three different stake pool operators, each pursuing a slightly different way of providing and maintaining clean water.
Jorge Quesada manages AGUA pool and has years of experience in the water treatment and wastewater industry in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico . Using his stake pool rewards, Jorge has already delivered 21000 liters of purified water. His goal is to help many more people by installing solar powered water purification systems across the Yucatan peninsula. In order to make this happen he has a catalyst proposal to fund the setup and installation of multiple solar powered filtration units which will then be self-sustaining. The water filtration goes with a current state of the art water purification technologies: raw filtering, water softener, activated carbon, reverse osmosis system. The process is finalized with a UV lamp before dispatching. The water source can be municipal and or well and the maintenance is paid with the pool rewards. The systems will have an open source hardware to display an advertisement. Each time water is dispensed, the advertisement is intended to educate about Cardano and help with pool delegation.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Nick from Lighthouse stake pool is focused on providing clean water for some of the poorest regions of Africa. The main project is located in Malawi and concerns the drilling of wells in remote villages. People in these villages have no access to clean drinking water and are forced to collect surface water from small streams, a practice which is the reason for many fatal cases of diarrhea, cholera and typhus in the region.
Moreover in Malawi it is mainly women and children that have the task to get water and they often have to walk a long way, spending hours on this activity. The wells located directly in the village also help to free up time for women to take care of their children, educate themselves or start a small enterprise to bring extra revenue to their family. For now LHS has helped finance one well, but hopefully will be able to make regular donations to the project as the pool grows with the goal of financing one well every few months. This is possible through a close collaboration with trusted local contacts and annual site visits.
A second clean water project organized by LHS that was funded entirely by fundraising from the Cardano community concerns the filtration of water from a captured spring in Uganda. The pool was approached directly by Gloria who runs an orphanage in the village, with the problem that the water is often muddy, especially when it has rained. The solution they came up with after consulting with a hydro-geologist who specializes in spring capture in Africa, was to plant Vetiver grass in the area above the spring. The roots of this grass are a fine mesh that grows to a depth of 3-4 meters and naturally filters the water. The grass can also be cut several times a year for animal food. This was an interesting pilot project at a much lower cost and we are hoping that this technique could also be applicable in other villages and other countries, such as Malawi.
A future Lighthouse project is the pedal pump irrigation system project in the same region of Malawi. Pedal pumps have been proven to increase the harvest substantially for the families, thereby allowing them to sell the excess production. The extra irrigation can help many of the families to better their conditions by paying for child education, improving housing for the family and paying for other basic commodities. Without regular irrigation crops in this part of the world are difficult to grow and loans to build irrigation systems are impossible to get. Hopefully Atala prism and some other IOHK initiatives will eventually allow people to get loans. Until that happens, Lighthouse stake pool will continue working from village to village, as each project has its own unique requirements.
Brian and Lisa, the owners of Gaia stake pool, are from Alberta Canada. Their pool independently supports several environmental charities because the goal is to use the stake pool to make a positive difference in restoring the environment of our world. It is important that the donations have the most impact, with guaranteed results that are provable. That is why they are focused primarily on tree planting and ocean cleanup.
For ocean cleanup, Brian and Lisa wanted to donate to a charity that is actively removing plastic from the world's oceans and waterways. While lobbying for government policy change regarding plastic waste is important, it doesn't solve the current problem that there is still so much plastic waste currently in the oceans and rivers of the world. The only way to fix this is to collect that plastic waste, and recycle it - so this is a guaranteed action to solve this problem. After much research, The Ocean Clean Up seemed to be the best choice for a charity.
By targeting the great pacific garbage patch, they are cleaning up the largest area of plastic waste in the world. Also, with the interceptor boats they are deploying, rivers and waterways can also be cleaned up before plastic pollution reaches the oceans. Plastic pollution in the world's oceans is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time, impacting more than 600 marine species. Plastic pollution does not only impact sea life, it also carries toxic pollutants into the food chain that we as humans are a part of. The larger pieces of plastic pollution have broken down over time into microplastics, which are difficult to collect and can easily spread everywhere, possibly interfering with feeding, reproductive performance, and survival of marine biota.
While not affiliated with Cardano, The Ocean Clean Up is an organization that shares the Cardano philosophy that individuals can make a difference, that we can change the world for the better. Their story started with a young scuba diver who noticed there were more plastic bags in the sea than fish. He decided to do something about it and dedicated himself to the cause. After a decade of hard work, the organization he built is definitely making a difference. You can make a difference too.
Access to potable water is a significant concern today and into the future. It is a global problem and runs the gamut of no water, poor sanitation, plastic contamination and much more. The situation is dire for many, but luckily the global community is working on the problem from a number of different angles. Many of us found Cardano because of its carbon friendly nature and stayed in the community because many members support environmental causes. We have looked today at just a few of the Cardano community members who are dedicated to helping solve water crises across the globe. Hopefully we have demonstrated that there are a number of ways that you, as an individual, can contribute also. You can support the work of Jorge, Nick or Brian and Lisa simply by staking your ADA to one of their pools. You can also donate to The Ocean Clean Up directly or purchase some of the sunglasses they sell from recycled plastics. Water access is a global problem that becomes a lot more manageable if we all do our part.