When we first came upon this book we were drawn in by the smiling face of a little girl playing in fresh, clean water. We often forget that water is a resource that is needed for survival, but many countries continue to struggle with clean water. It’s not someone else’s job to fix this, anyone can help, and author Dracup tells us exactly how in his latest book, Clean Water for Developing Countries.
Q. If you could give your book to one celebrity/scientist/politician, who would it be and why?
Celebrity: Matt Damon, who is the Co-founder of Water.org. This organization funds clean water projects all over the world.
Q. What was your inspiration to write Clean Water for Developing Countries?
1. I spent my career as a professor at UCLA and at the University of California, Berkeley, doing research and teaching water resource engineering, environmental engineering and hydrology. This experience led me to appreciate the need for clean water throughout the world. I joined Rotary International, a humanitarian organization because of its commitment to providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to those in need around the world. I have worked on Rotary International clean water projects in Kenya, Peru, Honduras and Guatemala, all of which are featured in my book.
2. I have been very fortunate and blessed throughout my life and working on clean water projects in developing countries and writing this book are a means of giving back to those who have not been as fortunate.
Q. Give us some key points that everyone must know when reading your book.
1. Anyone coming into a village or a community must work with the local populations to solve the problem of providing clean water. If it does not already exist, a local water committee must be formed, with representatives from all those concerned.
2. The problem of providing clean water to developing countries can be solved. We have the knowledge and the technology to turn the most polluted water into clean water. It only takes determination and funding for those who know how to do this.
3. By following the procedures laid out in this book, individuals with a wide range of backgrounds can work on and solve this problem in communities throughout all developing countries.
Q. Can you tell us three fun facts you discovered while writing your book?
1. A helicopter trip over much of Guatemala, looking for potential sites where clean water may be needed in a community, is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
2. A three hour boat ride to Remba Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya, can be a harrowing experience as the waves can be six feet in height.
3. Custom officers in Nairobi collect a 10% tariff on all gifts coming into the country. However, I found out that a single tee shirt with Barak Obama’s picture on it would suffice as the tax.
Q. You’re obviously passionate about clean water, what other issues do you wish to help solve?
Two issues come to mind:
- Education in developing countries is an important issue. Clean water allows children to go to school more often as they are free from diseases. But the schools must be funded and supported by the local and federal governments.
- Two million people throughout the world live on less than $2.00 per day. Economic equity is essential for peace and the elimination of conflicts in the world.
Q. Have you visited the developing countries in need of water, if so, what was that experience like?
I have worked on clean water projects in Kenya, Peru, Honduras and Guatemala. In Kenya, on Remba Island, which is in Lake Victoria, after three years of installation the clean water systems became operative. Women from all over the Island came to get clean water. They left with the water-filled jerrycans on top of their heads and smiles on their faces.
All of these projects were a marvelous experience and it was a pleasure to work on them.
Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your book?
Drinking polluted water causes over a million deaths worldwide each year due to water- borne diseases, such as typhoid and cholera. These deaths are easily avoided. We have the knowledge and the technology to clean the most polluted water. We just need the determination and the funding to do so.