Plans are coming together for an Oct. 5 fundraiser, starting and ending at SRP Park, to support an effort to provide potable water in some of the world's neediest countries.
Water Mission, based in North Charleston, is to be the beneficiary of the CSRA Walk for Water, which is to cover about 3.5 miles and run from 9 a.m. until about noon. The idea, as stated in promotional material, is to "bring together teams of participants from both sides of the Savannah River and from all walks of life, as we boldly battle the global water crisis which affects 2.1 billion people around the world."
Boosters of the project held a publicity event Tuesday at. St. Paul's Church, in Augusta, including a demonstration of some of the tools involved in water purification. In this case, the water was taken directly from the Savannah River, a few yards from the church, and run through Water Mission equipment, coming out clear.
The fundraising walk, open to all ages, will include the chance for each participant to simulate an activity that is a daily practice for millions of people around the world, in an effort to collect water — as clean as possible — for drinking, washing and other basic needs.
A two-gallon bucket will be provided at the walk for anyone wanting to carry one, and the pedestrian, bucket-bearing crowd is to walk across the James U. Jackson Memorial Bridge, into downtown Augusta, and stop at the halfway point (St. Paul's Church) to fill the buckets with dirty water, before carrying the full buckets back to SRP Park on a slightly different route. The unclean water is then to be pooled and sent through a treatment system.
The registration fee ranges from $20 (for adults 23 and older) to nothing (for anyone 5 or younger). Fees will be slightly higher for those registering on the day of the walk. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome, as are friendly dogs (on a leash).
Among major sponsors are such organizations as Chick-fil-A, WAFJ (radio), Eureka Earth, 3D Inspecting, Augusta GreenJackets, University Health Care System and a variety of local churches, along with the fundraising support of such individuals as Chris Withers, Sheri Whelchel and Cathy Stone. Volunteer help is needed, and information is available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details on the event are available at the website.
Water Mission is a creation of George Greene and his wife, the late Molly Greene. They ran an environmental engineering company in Charleston and responded to the catastrophic situation in Honduras in the wake of Hurricane Mitch, in 1998.
One of the charity's most prominent products is the Living Water Treatment System, described in promotional material as "essentially a miniature water-treatment plant that can purify more than 10,000 gallons of water per day — enough drinking water for 5,000 people," with filtration and disinfection as parts of the package.
A summary from Water Mission notes that each system, designed with challenging environments in mind, can treat 10 gallons of water per minute, drawing on such sources as rivers, lakes, springs, ponds and wells.