Water Connections
When I was in the 4th grade I won an essay contest for a piece I wrote about the water cycle. The Central Arizona Project had just begun construction and there was a lot of education about it at the time. But today, that project provides 80% of Arizona residents’ freshwater needs. I have been a water nerd ever since.
When you study the water cycle, you realize it is all connected; clouds, rain, springs, streams, rivers small and big, and the seas and oceans that cover the majority of our planet. And I have always been drawn to bodies of water. The weird kid from Arizona that moved to Santa Monica and learned to surf actually spent his childhood water skiing on the Colorado River and fishing the mountain lakes and streams of Northern Arizona.
And as I reflect on this, I realize that in Rotary International District 5495, water projects have run through our district creating unexpected connections that cross clubs, districts, communities, and our years of service. Our Navajo Water project has put D5495 on the map with districts and clubs from all over the United States learning about the scarcity of water in communities here at home and we have had many, many international clubs and districts participate as well.
Josh the Otter, the pool safety project that has been shared over the years by clubs as a recommendable district grant project has created connections between clubs, communities, schools, and the parents of children who benefit from learning about safety around the swimming pool.
The extensive work we are doing in Kenya started with an ask from our Maasai friends to support communities in Maasailand with clean water. The difference clean water makes in a community, particularly for women and children, is undeniable. But as a result of carrying out several water projects over the last two decades, we have built multiple partnerships and now also focus on mobility, youth empowerment and economic development and our connections run deep.
And today we are celebrating the sinking of a war ship to support the ultimate water resource, our oceans, to create an artificial reef system that will enhance the sustainability of our overall environment. The connection to our many partners in Mexico where this project is being carried out has been strengthened as well.
As I have argued since the 4th grade, water is essential. Maybe more essential than meets the eye.
Kevin Pitts
Rotary International District 5495 Governor