NEW ROCHELLE, NY (March 22, 2014)To mark this year’s World Water Day—which focuses on the nexus between ‘Water and Energy’—Salesian Missions is highlighting Salesian programs around the globe that provide safe water and hydro-electrical power to those most in need.
“Water is essential for life,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “From helping to ensure our communities have access to clean water for drinking and agriculture to helping build a hydro-electric power station,Salesian missionariesworking in 132 countries around the globe are always looking to expand their services to meet the needs of the poor youth and families they serve.”
Every year since 1993, the international community celebrates World Water Day on March 22, to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
Worldwide, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation, according to the United Nation’s UN-Water. Water and energy have a crucial impact on a community’s ability to eradicate poverty and according to UN-Water, the “bottom billion” urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity.
“This year’s observance of World Water Day focuses on the links between water and energy,” says UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon ina statement regarding World Water Day 2014.
“Both are critical for eradicating poverty. And they interact with each other in ways that can help – or hinder – our efforts to build stable societies and lives of dignity for all.”
According to UN-Water, there will be close to a 19 percent rise in global agricultural water consumption by 2050, and there is concern that water consumption might exceed critical sustainable thresholds at the expense of increased scarcity and degraded water sources. Water and energy are interrelated—water is required to produce nearly all forms of energy and energy is needed at all stages of water extraction, treatment and distribution.Without access to both water and energy, the ability to improve health, education, food security and building infrastructure is at risk.
Salesian Missions is proud to highlight the following water-related programs in honor of World Water Day 2014:
In Bolivia, water helps power electricity that brings hope to the people of Kami, a village high in the Bolivian Andes. Through Salesian Missions, an abandoned hydro-electrical power station has been restarted to provide the only source of electricity to the local school, hospital, sawmill and new businesses. Refurbished turbines can be fully used even with a small supply of water in the dry season. Excess power can be sold to the Bolivian Electricity Board to defray costs. Now the community has access to technology in its school, better basic medical care, job opportunities and a brighter future for all.
At the Don Rua Youth Hostel groups of youth from other provinces come to enjoy the hillside landscape and sea views of Kep while attending special meetings or vacationing. The hostel’s original mission has been preserved while expanding to include a school restaurant and stage on the ground floor and an art communication facility and hostel on the first floor.
The new Mary Help of Youth Water Tower is part of the Water System Project for the technical school and was made possible by donors through Don Bosco Mondo in Bonn, Germany. Its construction will guarantee water for this large educational community for years to come. Most people in the region utilize well water and this tower, constructed by a group of volunteers, will go significantly deeper than the average well and has two reserve tanks to hold additional water. Using green technologies, the water pump is generated by installed solar panels.
Ethiopia is subject to intense drought which triggers food shortages and famine. Without access to water, often women and children must walk long distances to collect water, and many times the water sources they find are subject to contamination. As a result, many suffer from water related diseases and young children are even prone to death if untreated.
But thanks to a project started in 2011, by the Salesians and International Voluntary Service for Development (VIS) volunteers, five wells have been dug in the Gambella area. The wells in the villages of Ilea, Ibago, Matar, Kobuon and Seri Mejengir will guarantee water to the villages and benefit close to 1,200 people. Two more wells were dug last April and another will be opened soon in the village of Bure, an area marked by hill rocky land and almost no roads.The wells are between 50 and 60 meters deep and are operated with hand pumps. To ensure that the wells last as long as possible, a village committee has been set up to oversee their management and maintenance.
Child survival depends on safe drinking water. In India, progress has been made toward making access to safe drinking water more readily available with 84.5 percent of rural and 95 percent of urban populations having sustainable access to safe drinking water, according to the World Bank.
At the Don Bosco Center for Learning in Kura, course work focuses on job training in developing technologies concerning water – ranging from plumbing and sanitation to developing efficient methods for utilization and analyzing existing systems for efficient transportation of water. The courses are designed for youth who have previously left school in order to help them enter the job market.
UN –Water – World Water Day 2014