Water and Sanitation Month
The month of March is Water and Sanitation month in the Rotary world.  In fact, March 22nd is World Water Day. Since 1993, the United Nations has observed March 22nd as World Water Day as a way to highlight the importance of clean water. This year's theme is "Valuing Water."
Water covers about 70% of the earth’s surface.  So, what is it about the scarcity of clean water with a good part of the population?  Water is a fundamental need for all of us.  2.2 billion people still do not have access to safe drinking water.  They are left with little choice but to drink contaminated water.
Good sanitation goes hand-in-glove with clean water.  Both are essential for health and well being.
When people have access to clean water and sanitation, waterborne diseases decrease, children stay healthier and attend school more regularly, and mothers can spend less time carrying water and more time helping their families.
Through water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs, Rotary’s people of action mobilize resources, form partnerships, and invest in infrastructure and training that yield long-term change.
Rotary clubs and their partners have built 222 toilets, six rainwater collectors, seven communal hand washing stations, and 20 bio-sand filters.  These projects provide more than 1,000 people with access to proper toilet facilities and almost 600 people with a regular supply of clean water.
Rotary clubs have partnered with local organizations to install a rainwater harvesting and distribution center for 4,000 people in Madan, India.  They also delivered training programs for women in the community and students in 35 schools.
In our District, there have been similar projects with others underway.  The Solana Beach Eco club has a Cambodia Sanitation Project: Latrines for Life.  
Open fields are still used for elimination of body waste and hand washing is rarely done.  These practices lead to the spread of germs with attendant diseases.  Contamination in the streams and soils spread disease resulting in high rates of infant mortality, high caseloads of diarrhea and other infections. 
Carl Kosnar, Andi Kosnar, Lynn Stevens, Dick Stevens and Niels Lund have all been to Cambodia for boots-on-the -ground installation of latrines in some of the Cambodian villages. 
Latrines for Life is a “double pit” system with an attached ceramic squatting base.  Each latrine has a “tippy-tap” soap hand washing station with running water.  In addition, each family receives a water filter for clean drinking water.
The Solana Beach Eco club is undertaking its first Global Grant.  G-2589 provides safe and reliable water to five communities in Ecuador.  This grant comes within water, sanitation and hygiene area of focus.  Over 1,000 people in these five communities will be served. 
These five communities (Cazederos, Gramadales, Cabeza de Toro, Arenal and Cochas) are located in the dry forest of southern Ecuador.  This ecosystem exposes the people to extreme weather conditions.  Its four-month rainy season is supposed to carry the communities for the eight months of dry season.  Therefore, it is critical that the communities learn to conserve water during the eight-month dry season.
Another consequence of the dry season is that it degrades the livestock and agricultural activities of the region.  That is why water and water conservation is so important to the area.
The grant focus’s on three components:
  1. Repair damaged water systems to meet basic needs.  It will protect and restore water sources that provides clean drinking water.
  2. It will furnish comprehensive technical training in water management and conservation.  This will ensure the availability of water with long term sustainable management of the water system.
  3. The project will teach the farmers and community the importance of conservation and restoration of water sources.
District 5340 is the host District with the Solana Beach Eco club as the club of contact.  The international partner is District 4400 with the Rotary club of Loja Los Zarzas as the international club of contact.
The beauty of this grant is that there is a partnership with the following clubs in our District:
  • Solana Beach Eco
  • Escondido Sunrise
  • Encinitas
  • San Marcos
  • Del Mar
  • Rancho Bernardo 
  • Rancho Santa Fe
The cash contributions of the clubs is $25,500.  There is District Designated Funds of $25,000; and The Rotary Foundation grant of $24,500.  
The total value of the global grant is $75,000.  This is the power of Rotary.  The power of giving to the annual fund allows us to do such a global grant to improve the lives of others.
There is one more Global Grant that I would like to highlight and share.  It is Global Grant 2121538.  It is hosted by the Rotary Club of Coronado Binacional in 5340.  The international host Districts are District 4110, the Rotary Club of Nueva Rosita Centenario and District 4185, the Rotary Club of Puebla Campestre Real.
This grant will provide drinking water for schools and villages in San Juan Sabinas, Coahuila, Mexico.  This grant is personal for Lynda Wood, past president of the Rotary Club of Coronado Binacional.  Lynda was born in San Juan Sabinas and she wanted to give back to her home town.
San Juan Sabinas is a small city of about 43,000 in the northern part of Mexico near the southern border of Texas.  25% of the population is under 14 years old.  There is a lack of safe drinking water in the city and in the schools.  The students come from low income families.  For half the year, the average ambient temperature 100 degrees.
The high temperature causes dehydration in the children resulting in low performance in school.  The high temperatures also cause gastrointestinal illnesses.
This Global Grant of $50,000 will provide water purification systems to be installed in six schools and three villages.  The systems work on reverse osmosis purification with a water softener.  One system supplies 250 liters per day and another system supplies 350 liters per day.  The grant also allocates ten water fountain coolers.
The great thing about this project is there are four clubs from our district participating - Coronado Binacional, Coronado, La Mesa and El Camino Real.  But that’s not all.  There are clubs from Irvine, California, San Antonio, Texas, Tempe, Arizona participating.  There are twelve clubs from District 4185 - Puebla Campestre taking part as well; and two clubs from District 4110 in Nueva Rosita.
These grants and projects are great examples of Rotarians taking action to bring about lasting change across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves.
By the year 2030 Rotary hopes to finish the job providing everyone with safe water, sanitation, and hygiene.  With our help like the projects of Solana Beach Eco and the Rotary Club of Coronado Binacional, we can reach that goal.
Thank you to the great clubs of Solana Beach Eco and Coronado Binacional in leading the way.