Water Posts

Clean Water for Loonwa

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3JbEDGU3uQ[/youtube]Last month I had the rare and very moving opportunity to visit a village that had recently received a clean water plant with funds from The Eleos Foundation, implemented by the Naandi Foundation, with GlobalGiving acting as the matchmaker/intermediary.  I visited Loonwa, a town of 10,000, in India’s beautiful and historic, but environmentally harsh, Rajasthan state.  Loonwa, and many other communities in Rajasthan, have a three-fold water problem.  First, there just isn’t much water – imagine farming in Phoenix or Las Vegas.  Second, water contained in stagnant ponds during the rainy season is likely to be contaminated with bacteria and worse.  Third, due to an unfortunate geological situation, the groundwater is high in fluoride and other chemicals that leach into otherwise pure water from wells.  Just enough fluoride helps teeth grow strong, so they put it in our water and in our toothpaste.  Too much fluoride makes teeth turn very white, then they fall out, and it seriously hurts skeletal development of children.  Here’s a scientific discussion of the subject. Enter Eleos Foundation and Naandi Foundation.  Eleos wants to help the poorest of the poor get healthier around the world, and they want to do it through market-based solutions.  Naandi helps communities in India finance clean water plants, and then trains local folks to operate the plant and sell the water at affordable prices.  Through UV and reverse osmosis purification, the water is pathogen and chemical free.  And it’s available for about $18/year for a family.  Over time, the community buys the clean water plant with the proceeds and everyone is healthier.  GlobalGiving helped Eleos connect with Naandi, and now this community has a potential solution to this unique problem. As I pulled into Loonwa with Amit and the Naandi team, I wondered if there was a political rally going on.  It was election time in India.  No, it was a welcoming party for us.  I cut the ribbon on the door of the water plant, saw how the plant works, attended a community meeting where we were all welcomed very warmly by the leaders of the village, then toured a Jain temple.  I was overwhelmed by the sincere excitement about having access to pure water, and I was humbled and a bit embarrassed by the very, very festive welcome I received.  You’ll see my sheepish grin in this video. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2fN8U7cVvU[/youtube]