North Iowans are being asked to step up conservation efforts with water to help people, not only in the U.S. but around the world. According to the United Nations, more than 663 million people live without a safe water supply close to home.
Although it isn’t at crisis level in most states, lead-poisoned drinking water in Flint, Mich., has elevated concerns. The Des Moines Water Works sued drainage districts alleging that too many nitrates from farm fertilizers were flowing from waterways in Sac, Buena Vista, and Calhoun Counties. Iowa courts have since dismissed those cases.
Safe water is also an issue that Dan Haseltine with the band Jars of Clay holds close to his heart. During a trip to Africa to visit areas devastated by the AIDS crisis, he says the band was shocked to see people digging for water in dry riverbeds.
Haseltine helped start “Blood:Water,” which partners with African grassroots organizations to fight HIV/AIDS and the water crises. The group also encourages people to have some fun with conservation efforts.
One suggestion is a “water challenge,” which could mean drinking only water for a number of days – or even going without it for an entire day.
Daniella Bostrom Couffe, communications manager for UN-Water, which coordinates water-related issues for the United Nations, says the small ways people save water throughout the day can make a difference.
Haseltine believes getting involved in the effort to bring clean water to those in need can also be an important break – a good way to focus on something other than the political strife in America.