Would you walk two hours for a glass of water?

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Do you ever stop to think about the water that comes from your tap?

I know I certainly take it for granted; sometimes leaving it running when brushing my teeth or throwing away perfectly good washing up water because it’s gone cold…

But for some people, clean, safe, water isn’t ‘en tap’ like it is for us.

It usually takes a camping trip or half day while the water board are doing work in the village and need to turn off supplies for me to realise what an amazing resource it is. And then, of course, I complain when the water board turn the supplies back on and the water is brown for the next couple of hours…

But recently I learned that one in eight of the world’s population do not have access to clean water and almost 40% of the world’s population do not have adequate sanitation. Imagine walking for two hours to get one glass of water; water that you knew could give you and your family a life-threatening illness…

WaterAid offer practical solutions to provide safe water, effective sanitation and hygiene education to the world’s poorest people. They work in rural and urban areas, and have programmes in 27 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region.

And recently they teamed with Yorkshire Water to encourage people to pull on their walking boots on to enjoy one of the most beautiful coastal walks in the UK. The walk was a fundraiser called “Coast Along” which enticed teams of walkers to cover 240 sections of coastline, varying from 4-15 miles, to cover a total of 2,000 miles.

Sarah Canniford from WaterAid explained the reason for the walk: “It’s easy for us to take clean water for granted when it comes at the turn of a tap, but for too many women and children across Africa finding water is a daily struggle and they walk for hours just to meet this basic need. The distance walked by teams will be similar to the daily routine for many in Malawi.”

Coast Along is part of the Big Dig Appeal for Malawi and every pound of sponsorship will be matched by the UK Government from the aid budget, helping the charity reach twice as many people.

The area for the walk included some fun activities such as :

  • Fossil hunting in Robin Hood’s Bay.
  • Soaking up the gothic atmosphere in Whitby, setting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
  • Building sandcastles at Scarborough, one of Britain’s favourite seaside resorts.

The money raised helped to provide clean water and sanitation across Malawi, a country with over 20% of people unable to get access to clean water and with 44% not having access to a toilet.

The irony is that it only takes £15 to provide clean, safe drinking water to one person for life – less than the average person spends on take out coffee every week.

Near to me there was a walk in Bristol. It was a family-friendly route covering 5 1/2 miles, steeped in history and providing activities to keep younger family members entertained.

Anne Reed, Yorkshire Water’s community engagement ambassador said “Other than possible blisters, there’s not really a down side to this initiative. People have the opportunity to take part in organised walks where they’ll be able to take in the spectacular views on offer, and, should they wish, raise money for a very worthwhile charity indeed.”

Check out this wonderful video of the drilling of a new borehole for residents of Bokola and Kaniche; funded by last year’s Big Dig appeal. I think you’ll definitely stop wasting water and maybe doing a little happy dance next time you use the tap after watching this …

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