As seen in WaterGardenNews.com Posted Monday, Jan. 9, 2012
Text and photos by Rick Bartel
Whether we are in retail, manufacturing, distribution or design and installation services, many of us have made a very good living working within the pond and water feature industry. I have done well essentially making money in an industry that revolves around water.
Even when the money is not pouring in, most of us love what we do and, for the most part, enjoy getting up and going to work each day. Water makes our world go around! You could even say that water makes it possible for us to make this money.
Throughout our society we are surrounded by readily available water and have access to it everywhere. We can go into our kitchens or bathrooms and instantly dispense water from a faucet. We have refrigerators that provide us with cold, filtered water without even opening the door. We can go into most convenience stores and select bottled water from dozens of options. Our city parks and other public venues provide access to drinking water fountains with which to quench our thirst. Many of us have sprinkler systems that maintain our lawns and landscapes, and when our cars are dirty, we can wash them without a second thought.
While traveling around the globe these past few years, I have been shocked at the number of people outside our borders who do not have access to clean, safe water sources. More than 4 million people die each year directly due to not having access to this life-giving resource. Of that number, 1.5 million are children!
People are dying because they don’t have water to sustain their lives.
Recently I discovered several organizations within and outside of the pond and water feature industry that are making a difference for people without access to clean, safe water. My first discovery was Aquascape Inc. and its awesome rainwater retention project in South Africa. Later, I learned of actor Matt Damon’s organization Water.org and its work providing water resources to those in need. Most recently I became involved with a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization called “Water for the World” and, along with others in the pond and water feature industry, started a new project division called “Ponds for Peace.”
I cannot express how satisfying it is to do something as easy and simple as providing water to a group of children or a needy community and to see the resulting warmth of their smiles bless my day. Thanks to the $1,500 prize award offered by Little Giant from my winning Water Garden News’ 2010 Pond Builder of the Year award, and the assistance of Andy Schoenberger with Little Giant, I was able to design and install a wonderful and necessary spring-fed fountain system for an orphanage in Cambodia this past summer on my way to China for the 2011 IWGS International Water Feature Symposium.
In 2010, nearly a dozen children from this orphanage died from water-borne diseases directly linked to their drinking water supply. Stories like this should not happen; children should not be dying from the simple lack of water.
If you are interested in additional information on the Ponds for Peace Project, contact water feature representative Richard Cardona at email@example.com or water feature contractor William Burnison at firstname.lastname@example.org, each of whom are members of the organization’s board of directors.
View this and other original blog entries by Rick on WaterGardenNews.com .