Posted by Dan Schellenberg on Feb 11, 2018

Rotary International and Water

Water, the most precious element on the planet, covers 71 percent of the Earth’s surface, yet comprises only 0.02 percent of the Earth’s body mass. Nevertheless, without this necessary element, life on the planet would likely cease to exist. We need water, not just in its present form; we need clean water.

One of the challenges we face as global citizens and members of Rotary International, along with our respective clubs, is to provide clean water to all of us. A statement from the Rotary International website reads: “Clean water and sanitation is a human right. When people, especially children, have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, they lead healthier and more successful lives.”



In order to further portray the importance Rotary International places on clean water, the website, says: “We don’t just build wells and walk away. Rotary members integrate water, sanitation and hygiene into education projects. When children learn about disease transmission and practice good hygiene, they miss less school. And they can take those lessons home to their families, expanding our impact.”

While Rotary International is committed to providing clean water world-wide, we at the local Club level in Cranbrook have the opportunity to address water-related issues within our own province and country. A CBC report written in October of 2015 by Joanne Levasseur and Jacques Marcoux, describes  ‘Third World’ conditions at many First Nations areas in Canada. According to the report, Nazko First Nation, Alexis Creek First Nation and Lake Babine, all in British Columbia, have experienced consistent water problems over the past 16 years. Clean running water is a luxury in the aforementioned areas.

What sets Canada apart from many countries in the world as it relates to providing water to its citizens is that we are a wealthy country, unlike many of the impoverished countries that have water problems. Another quote from the CBC report is attributed to Cindy Blackstock, director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society and associate professor at the University of Alberta: It’s absolutely outrageous that very absolute necessity of life is being denied to a whole group of people in a country as wealthy as ours.”

Whether, the venture to provide clean water takes place in Canada or in the many other places throughout the world, the fact remains that it is a world-wide project and is an important part of Rotary International. 

The Rotary Club of Solapur North in India undertook a water project in their local area and donated two water tanks to two different schools. Solapur is a drought prone area where water storage is a common problem. The Rotary Showcase web report states that the schools where children from low income strata families get education, find it hard to get drinking water and have a sanitation problem during school hours. The Solapur North Rotary Club in India’s donation of two water tanks benefited some 800 students, collectively.

Rotary’s goal is to finish providing everyone with safe water, sanitation and hygiene by the year 2030. Every club in every location of the world has an opportunity to help realize this noble goal, as is evidenced in the Solapur North Rotary Club’s project to provide clean water to a group of people. Rotary International’s statement, “Clean water and sanitation is a human right,” holds true more now than ever.