Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 18, 2012

Taking Water for Granted

Water is, perhaps, one of the things we take most for granted every day. That’s because we are accustomed to having unlimited water on demand. We don’t have to carry containers to a well or a river nor do we have to ration water in order to make it last for the day. In just one twenty-four hour period on our planet, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed in collecting water for domestic needs. According to a United Nations Human Development Report, an American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day. So, whether we are taking a hot shower, filling up a glass at the tap, or flushing a toilet, we are indeed among the world’s most fortunate people when it comes to having access to clean water.

In the winter of 2004, I visited the Abu Shouk and Zamzam camps for internally displaced peoples in Darfur, Sudan. The triple-digit heat there is the worst I have ever experienced. No relief day or night. It was like living in an oven. One of my most vivid memories is of the numbers of women in queue to get water at the few wells that serviced these camps. The women waited long hours in the unrelenting heat in order to fill plastic jugs with water and then carried these heavy containers to their make-shift homes. This is a grueling but necessary daily task in order for the displaced peoples in these camps to survive.

The United Nations guy working in Darfur told our team that diarrhea was the number one cause of death in the camps. People died because they did not have enough water to rehydrate. The second leading cause of death was man-made malaria. Water stored in open containers became a breeding ground for mosquitoes. As late as two years ago, reports that I read indicated that a child died every 15 seconds from a water-related disease. Today, a child dies every 20 seconds from a water-related disease. That is still a shocking statistic. The last thing any of us would expect is to lose a child to diarrhea or some other water-related disease. Our kids will never be among the 24,000 kids under the age of 5 that die every day from causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water. This year, our missions ministry has funded the drilling of a water well in Darfur in cooperation with my friend Dr. Jerry Squyres, founder of Innovative Humanitarian Solutions. This investment will result in lives saved.

Tomorrow, I will leave for El Salvador with the first of this year’s three water well drilling teams from Kingsland. Our missions ministry funds these wells and mobilizes volunteers to drill them in cooperation with Living Water International. When we started this initiative a couple of years ago, I asked my friend and Kingsland member Jim Coleman to serve as our missions ministry’s point man for our partnership with Living Water International. Jim agreed to take on this responsibility and continues to do an excellent job of training and leading our teams. I’m thankful for the opportunity for us to serve together again in El Salvador. I will blog about our adventures in El Salvador this week as I have opportunity. Thanks in advance for your prayers. And remember to give thanks for every drop of water you enjoy.

• Read more of my posts about our previous trips with Living Water International.


  1. Hope everything goes well and take care of my sweet friend Eva!

    • Thanks. We’ll take good care of Eva.

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