Interview with John A. Dracup, PhD, author of Clean Water for Developing Countries

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   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

Q. Give us some key points that everyone must know when
reading your book.

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.   

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. 

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?

John A. Dracup PhD

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

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. 

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

Q. You’re obviously passionate about clean water, what other
issues do you wish to help solve?

Two issues come to mind:

  1.  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.
  2. 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.