FACT: According to the 2015 World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP), one in ten people across the globe lack access to safe water. * In times of crisis such as a devastating earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, or other natural disaster, those figures are most certainly guaranteed to rise.
In 2009, Jon Rose, an avid world traveler and surfer, took a fateful surf trip to Sumatra, Indonesia. As was his custom, in order to give back something to the communities he visited as a ‘thank you,’ for their hospitality, he traveled with a number of water filters knowing that in many of the towns he visited, the residents lacked access to clean, healthy water. Not too long after his return to the U.S., on September 30, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the town of Padang, only to be followed by another unrelated major quake 25 miles near the Padang epicenter, as well a series of devastating aftershocks accounting for over 1,000 deaths and thousands missing.
“Jon, who was with friends visiting Indonesia on a surf trip at the time of the quake, was one of the first responders to provide aid,” said Christian Troy, Executive Director for Waves For Water. “He also traveled to Haiti to provide assistance after their catastrophic 7.0 quake in 2010.”
At the time of the Haitian quake, Troy was working as the managing director of creative industries in the Mayor of Los Angeles’ office. However, when he heard about the work his friend Jon was doing in the ravaged country, he felt compelled to join him.
“That trip changed my life,” continued Troy. “When Jon explained the challenges he was facing at ground zero in Haiti, it sounded like he needed a producer, someone to help coordinate and supervise, to bring together people and situations and problem solve in order to get important work done. It was then Jon and I realized how much we enjoyed working together and that our skills meshed.”
It was after these two cataclysmic acts of nature that both Rose and Troy realized their services — providing water filters to communities in need, as well as assistance with organization and operation, was sorely needed. Thus, the non-profit organization, Waves For Water, was born with a mission to implement projects that provide access to clean water to those in dire need throughout the world.
“Clean Water Couriers,” was our first program that is still in operation today. It’s a kind of DIY distribution for travelers, who, when they visit certain countries, volunteer to carry our water filters in their luggage and deliver them to a point person in that country for distribution. In transporting the filters like this, it eliminates the distribution challenges sometimes faced by philanthropic aid programs.”
Waves For Water uses a filter produced by the U.S. based company, Sawyer, because they’ve found it to be a superior product in terms of the volume of clean water they provide (each filter can also push through 200 gallons of water in a day, which is enough for 100 people a day to live on), and they require no electricity.
“Their working life is approximately five years and during that time they can produce up to a million gallons of water,” added Troy, “At $50.00 per filter, they’re also extremely cost-effective and easy to use and maintain, which is critical.”
The goal of Waves For Water is to provide one filter per family in the areas they visit. However, sometimes resources are limited, in which case they organize areas where multiple families are able to share a filter.
“Another way we get around limited supply is to set up a series of filters at a local school or other public place where the entire community can benefit. Waves For Water also checks up on the filters we install to ensure they continue to work correctly, or change them out if necessary.”
Troy has noticed a marked improvement in the lives of everyone in a community in need when they have access to clean, safe water.
“Access to clean water uplifts the lives of everyone,” said Troy. “It reduces poverty, because people can work at other things besides a daily search for drinkable water, and regular access to clean water also contributes to a community’s sustainability, health and advancement.”
Waves For Water works diligently to spread their mission in order to garner
“There are so many amazing and heroic individuals we meet and hear about everyday in our travels, and we’re using the medium of video to chronicle some of these astonishing individuals not only to highlight our mission, but to provide hope, inspiration, and impact change on a global level.”
“Moving images are extremely powerful,” continued Troy. “That’s why festivals like ‘Water: Take 1’ are invaluable. Through the power of film, an audience is able to visit a faraway town, get a feeling for the people, the community, and understand how a filter can restore an area’s water supply and provide hope. When an audience can actually see the smiles and energy of how clean water transforms a community, and when those people are so thankful and so appreciative for something we take for granted here in the U.S., it’s a truly humbling, life changing experience.”
Individual donors as well as sponsorships, partnerships and grants, fund the non-profit Waves For Water. To find out more about Waves For Water programs and projects, and to ascertain how you can get involved and/or make a donation, visit: Wavesforwater.org