Madeline Crocenzi, Editor-in-Chief and Alyssa Burd, Online Editor
On March 22, for World Water Day, the White House and the United Nations worked to increase awareness of water quality and quantity in the United States and abroad.
The ongoing goal is to improve the quality and quantity of water to change workers’ lives, whole societies and economies.
As part of the day’s events, the White House held a Water Summit to raise awareness of different water issues facing the United States. The Summit was also meant to brainstorm solutions to build a sustainable future in water through new science and technology.
At Messiah, the Collaboratory’s Intelligent Water Project (IWP) is doing just that. IWP partnered with World Vision back in 2012 to improve water quality in rural African communities. IWP continues to work to enhance water pump performance and reliability through technology.
“Our system tests for prime time, leak rate and how much water people are actually using. From those three things, we can basically let people know whether the pump is dead, needs repairs or is in working condition,” senior Collaboratory member Jacquelyn Young said.
Project Manager Tony Beers explained IWP’s system, which consists of a set of sensors mounted on rural hand pumps. Information about each pump is collected and sent as a text message to an SMS receiving service. The data from the messages is then sent via the Internet to a database at Messiah where it’s posted on the Intelligent Water web page.
“Once on the web page, organizations like World Vision, who install and maintain the pumps, can see which pumps are performing well and which pumps require maintenance,” Beers said. “What we want to do is to put information in the hands of the people who can make a difference every single day.”
Young said some communities are ashamed when water pumps break because they think they caused the malfunction. “They’ll go and drink unsafe water, or they’ll travel miles and miles, and that can interfere with people’s education, health and even just what they’re doing in their lives business-wise,” she continued. “We’re hoping to change that and allow them to have a reliable source of clean drinking water.”
Clean water is certainly an issue that needs to be addressed. The World Health Organization says 3.4 million people die each year from water-related diseases.
“In order to access a valuable resource, people have to travel longer and wait longer for pump repairs to be able to obtain water. The goal for the IWP is to not have people travel long or wait for water but to improve their lives with the improved access to water,” sophomore Sandra Snozzi, IWP’s student project manager said.
In a fact sheet titled “Working Together to Build a Sustainable Water Future” the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary outlined some water issues currently impacting the United States. The drought in the West, flooding in the Southeast and the water-quality crisis in Flint, MI are just a few of the problems facing communities in the United States today.
To seek new solutions, the White House listed some commitments to improving water quality throughout the country. One is investing $4 billion in private capital in water-infrastructure projects. Another is a Presidential Memorandum and Action Plan to improve drought resilience in the United States.
Whether at home or abroad, organizations are stepping up to provide improved water quality and Beers is one of the first to acknowledge their hard work. “At the end of the day, the real heroes are organizations like World Vision and Water4, who are out there every day drilling wells, making relationships with communities, teaching health and sanitation. Those are the real heroes of the story. We’re just privileged to be a part of it.”
For more information on the IWP at Messiah, go to http://www.intelligentwater.net.
Maddie Crocenzi, Editor-in-Chief
Pug lover, Christ-follower, runner and peanut butter enthusiast.
Alyssa Burd, Online Editor
Alyssa Burd is a sophomore journalism who hails from the beautiful land of Hess 1st.