Reaching Out

March 31, 2010

Ever since the devastating earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, I have seen numerous news stories and press releases about water professionals donating time, equipment and expertise to relief efforts, specifically those providing clean, safe water to the displaced and distressed victims of the quake. Here are some noteworthy examples:

  • Through a partnership with Mercy Corps, ITT Corp. is donating five portable water treatment systems to the country, providing enough water each day for 200,000 people. They are also doubling their matching giving to employee contributions to Mercy Corps. So far, $480,000 has been raised.
  • WQP’s Dealer of the Year, Ernie Wilmink of “The Key” Water & Air Intl., Inc., Lindsay, Neb., is raising money to donate an emergency mobile water purification unit to Haiti.
  • Industrial Test Systems, Inc., is sending more than 20,000 drinking water test strips to Haiti to help people determine whether water is safe to drink.
  • Norit X-Flow, in partnership with PWN, is supplying seven Perfector-E compact water treatment systems, capable of producing a total of nearly 90,000 gal per day, to Haitian residents.
  • Parkson is working with non-profits and partners to build a low-maintenance treatment facility in the nation in coming months.
  • WQP’s cover story this month highlights a group of major companies partnering with Innovative Water Technologies, Inc., to donate and install five SunSpring solar-powered water purification units to the country (see page 16).

While many professionals have already come to the aid of Haiti, a glance at the newspaper will offer many other opportunities to get involved in similar efforts. Another earthquake—this one recorded at a magnitude of 8.8—hit Chile on Feb. 27, with a death toll of at least 800.

We all have specific skills and talents that we can offer. In times of catastrophe, the skills and knowledge of a water treatment professional are incredibly valuable. Everyone may see stories about the lack of clean drinking water on the news, but you have access to the knowledge and products that can remedy the situation and even save lives.

If you have the capabilities to get involved in international relief efforts, get started right away. Even if the media stops covering these disasters after a month or two, recovery for the affected populations will take years.

If you feel you are not capable of putting together an international relief effort on your own or shipping equipment overseas, don’t just give up. Partner with other water professionals in your local or regional network, or even with other businesses in your community, and pool your resources and ideas.

Even on your own, you could place an advertisement announcing that 10% of all sales from a certain day or week will go to benefit a reputable charity that is providing clean water around the world. Or, donate a percentage of bottled water sales to providing bottled water to those in need. Beginning a partnership with a charitable organization now, or even launching your own relief effort, could enrich your life and business for years, attract employees and establish your reputation as a business that cares.

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About the Author

Rebecca Wilhelm

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