World Water Day – Nomadic Thoughts’ Water-House (21.03.14)
22nd March is World Water Day, an opportunity to reflect on the worldwide management of our most precious of commodities and to raise awareness of the link between energy and water.
The statistics are appalling; one in nine people on this planet (780 million) live without access to clean water. 3.4 million people die every year from water related diseases, 99% of which occur in developing world countries. Across the world, over 200 million ‘woman hours’ a day are spent collecting water – which severely impacts on their health, safety and time management. Even those who do have access to water do not always have access to clean water; the majority of water-related illnesses are caused by faecal matter, caused by poor sanitation facilities in informal settlements such as slums and local townships.
Living without clean water means that children, the most vulnerable, die at a rate of a jumbo jet crash a day (that’s one child dying from a water-related disease every 21 seconds). Indeed more people have a mobile phone, than access to a toilet.
With this in mind, in addition to constantly trying to keep in touch with our holiday destinations’ social and environmental issues, we at Nomadic Thoughts continue, in our own small way, to be as proactive as possible in assisting clients and destination stakeholders in their water-management activities. We continue to monitor, support and encourage our hotels in their positive water-management programmes. For example, when last visiting a selection of our Riad hotels in Marrakech we introduced them to an initiative promoting shower-timers and plug management systems.
On a much larger scale Nomadic Thoughts is the UK office for our charity New Life Mexico (NLM), which supports vulnerable children and young people in Mexico through social, health and education programmes. One of the most successful NLM initiatives was the introduction of clean drinking water-houses across some of the most under-developed local communities. To date, NLM have designed, built, managed and maintained 32 water-houses. This has brought over 35 million cups of water per year to children and their families who otherwise would not have access to clean drinking water. A truly wonderful achievement that we at Nomadic Thoughts are immensely proud to be associated with.
In addition to supporting the maintenance of our very own water-house, Nomadic Thoughts’ role has been focused on assisting NLM in the building, maintaining and promoting of the local water-house programme. For example we have played an integral part in linking the UK travel industry to a variety of high impact clean water projects. And as I type, NLM’s 33rd water-house is under construction.
Each water-house (located across a variety of schools and health department locations) has been designed and built by our local team in Puerto Vallarta thanks to the incredible generosity of each of the water-houses’ sponsors. The result is that each water-house produces over 1.1million cups of clean drinking water a year – directly impacting on up to 1,500 local children and their families.
As well as the images of our Nomadic Thoughts’ water-house, I took all these water-house-project photos on location in Puerto Vallarta. Although they give an idea of how such a simple and well-planned project can so improve livelihoods, what is hard to appreciate unless you are there, is the incredible explosion of excitement and appreciation shown by the children when they first realise their school has a water-house. With temperatures often hovering in the forties and sweltering humidity levels, the long walks to and from school become much, much more manageable with access to clean water. The impact of our water-houses on the school working day, as well as everyone’s general health, is staggering.
If you would like any more information on New Life Mexico’s work, Nomadic Thoughts’ involvement or how you too could be involved please do not hesitate to contact me. In the meantime, please do spread the word about World Water Day.
Building New Life Mexico water-houses: