Water We Talking About

Bo Bacot 3/15/2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

As humans, our bodies are made up of more than 60 percent water -- our blood is 92 percent water, our organs and muscles are roughly 75 percent water, and even our bones are about 22 percent water. Moving from the internal, biological world to the external, geographic world, in America it is estimated that 53 percent of people live within 50 miles of an ocean. Furthermore, our oceans account for 71 percent of the Earth´s surface. From the micro, the human body, to the macro, the entire world, water is the key to everything.

Surfers, perhaps, have a better understanding of and a more intimate relationship with water than most people. Surfers base their lives around water -- calculating tides, tracking transoceanic storms, playing in the chaos where sea meets land, memorizing the fluidity of their local break. Water is essential to all, but especially to surfers.

Just as water is essential to surfers, so too is traveling. Whether it is as simple as walking from your house to the beach, taking a drive up or down the coast, or a continents-spanning trek to a remote break, all surfers travel. Surfers seek out. As such, I am excited to see what some surfers are doing with regard to seeking, traveling, and especially water.

The folks behind Waves for Water understand the importance of traveling and the supreme importance of water.  The men and women of Waves for Water have even begun a campaign, Clean Water Couriers, which centers on the importance of water.  The CWC seeks to bring water, clean drinking water, to "catastrophic stricken regions around the world." And they are doing it by employing surfers and/or general travelers to carry water filtration systems with them on their journeys.

These filtration systems come in three different types: the Kin, the Renegade, and the MVP. The Kin filter is $25, and it provides enough clean water for 14 people for up to one year, or 5,110 gallons of clean drinking water. The Renegade and MVP filters cost more, but they also affect more people. Both are $50, and both provide enough clean water for 100 people across five years, or one million gallons. Think about that for a second, please. It breaks down to costing ten cents per person per year for clean, drinking water with either the Renegade or the MVP. That´s impressive.

The filters work with water from any source -- "lake, rain, tap, river or stream" -- and they set up in mere minutes (check out the video below for an example). Once set up, these filters remove bacteria which cause "Cholera, Botulism, Typhoid, Amoebic Dysentery, E. coli, Coliform Bacteria, Streptococcus, [and] Salmonella," and they do so with a 99.99999 percent removal rate, which exceeds EPA requirements.

The difficulty, one would think, is getting filtration systems from here to where they are needed. But, as it turns out, it´s not difficult at all. Each of these filters is easily portable, with the Renegade filter weighing as little as three ounces -- simply roll the filter up and put it in your backpack or your board bag. Or, if you´re not planning a trip anytime soon, or you don´t surf, there are still other options for lending a hand. The Waves for Water website has a section where you can donate to its CWC missions -- your money will be directly spent on getting filters to select locations. CWC missions span the globe: Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, Afghanistan, Indonesia, and more.

You can get these filters to the people who need them by purchasing the filters and taking them with you on your next surf trip, by donating to one of the many missions that are underway, or you can create your own CWC mission to get water to an area of need that is personal to you. As a matter of fact, locally speaking, a high school from Wilmington has just completed a mission to send off enough filters to assist 500 people in Africa.

People are inextricably tied to water -- biologically, geographically, and globally. Surfers, and moreover surfers who travel to locales not frequented by most tourists, have a unique possibility to offer help to others who need this basic necessity. How often do you get the opportunity to share that thing you love, water, with those who need it most? Just think about it. If it sits well with you, do what you can.

How to assemble a Water Filter // Waves for Water // Christian Troy from Waves For Water on Vimeo.

Waves For Water // Bali // Young Investors Organization from Waves For Water on Vimeo.

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