In many fantasy stories, certain chosen individuals get special powers over various elements, usually fire, air, earth, and water. We are paying plenty of attention these days to the powers of fire (including nuclear power both weaponized and not, blowing things up with all sorts of explosives, and other sorts of combustion), air (all that carbon floating around), earth (farming, land-use, preservation, fracking), but water always seems to be the last element on the list.
But those old stories (as well as some new ones) are hitting new nerves and some part of us is recognizing that taking care of our water sources is essential to our continued survival. And new kinds of magic are happening in our ultra-modern world.
One of the continuing frustrations of working in developing countries is that a charity will often go in, dig a well, install a pump, and then leave. A few years later the pump is broken and the people are no better off than before the charity arrived. Now, another solution is now on the horizon: smart pumps. Taking the communication even further, another group is developing a way for residents to call in the broken pumps via mobile phone.
But as the best myths and stories always tell us, the magical solution is really in the people. I’ve been hoping this next organization will get off the ground soon but it’s not quite there yet. Still, if Water Canary succeeds (or even if it hands over the reins to another organization who can take the idea forward), it will mean a huge step in the global care-taking of one of our most important resources. By crowdsourcing the testing of local water sources (giving individuals cheap, effective testing materials) relief organizations, governments, and people can work together to identify clean water sources and, at the same time, warn residents away from contaminated sources.
With the help of some technological wizardry, people across the planet are gaining access to clean water, and also learning to take care of this magical resource.
Thanks for stopping by,