Thursday, January 29, 2009

Not in My Backyard

Imagine that you lived in a place where water borne diseases were rampant. Your local water source is contaminated, and typhoid outbreaks occur whenever major flooding occurs - probably from sewage and contaminants entering your water supply. Thousands of people become ill, and many even die. There are no trained water staff to effectively treat the water to protect human health. Seems worlds away, doesn’t it?

It’s not -
You are right here in Austin, Texas, only the year is 1911 and drinking water is untreated. It wasn’t until 1915 when the State’s first sanitary engineer Vic Ehlers was appointed by the governor to make inspections, investigations, and reports of water borne disease epidemics, and the City of Austin was convinced to chlorinate their water in 1916. Typhoid from public water sources in Texas was eradicated as Mr. Ehlers traveled from town to town, educating water operators and engineers.

The Sanitary Engineering Division of the Texas State Health Department was subsequently formed to guide and develop the state environmental programs. In 1973 Congress promulgated the Safe Drinking Water Act, setting national drinking water standards.

We are fortunate. Right now, 1.1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s one in six of us.

By participating in Austin Twestival which supports charity: water, you can affect a change. This non profit organization is working with international partners including A Glimmer of Hope and Water for People to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of the money raised goes to direct project costs, funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need. Just $20 can give one person in a developing nation clean water for 20 years.

Come have fun at our event, but you can really help us now by blogging, linking, tweeting, anything to get the word out! If you want to volunteer, send a tweet to @snax or visit our Volunteer page on the Austin Twestival wiki.

Show the world that everything truly is big in Texas, including our hearts!