Chris Roma: The Triple Crown for Clean Water

On May 1st Chris Roma, New Hampshire Native, started mile one of the 2800-mile Appalachian Trail to help provide underserved communities with clean drinking water. He has completed the Pacific Crest Trail (2,650 miles) and the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles). During his journey, he realized the importance of having clean water and wanted to do something unique for his final thru-hike.  Chris is partnering with MissionCleanWater, a nonprofit organization working to provide accessible clean drinking water and sanitation to underserved communities.

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Currently, there are 844 million people in the world without access to drinking water. They have to walk every day to find water. Since most men are working, it is primarily the women and children's job to get water for their family.  Women sacrifice taking care of their family while children as young as 5 miss out on a proper education. The water collected often comes from rivers, lakes, and puddles that are shared by animals. During the dry seasons, rain is infrequent. Many have to dig holes in river beds to get water in the dirt.  Children can spend up to 8 hours collecting water that is not even clean. Children that consume dirty water do not have a strong enough immune system to defend against water-related diseases such as Hepatitis, Typhoid, and Cholera. Together, this can all change by supporting Chris Roma.

If Chris can reach his donation goal, the lives of thousands will change instantly. Water-related diseases will disappear, long walks to retrieve water will be eliminated, and children, especially girls, will have the chance to grow.  Clean water improves health, gender equality, education, opportunity, and time.  Chris is empowering us all to push forward and to work together as a team to help those born into a life of hardship. 

Show your support by coming to The Loading Dock on May 18th for a reggae concert and silent art auction. Come dance, party, and enter for the chance to win original local artist work.


What can be done to prevent water project failure: STEEP Model

Many factors are needed to bring people clean drinking water. When one aspect is not considered or changes, the entire project can be put in jeopardy. One model that considers everything is called the STEEP model: Social, Technical, Economic, Environmental, and Political. By looking at every factor, we can gain a good understanding of the past and future of water development projects.

What are the community needs? Do they want assistance? What are the major health issues? Where do they go to get water? How do they want us to help? Can we work together? Are they willing to learn about water technology and sanitation? Are there issues with open defecation?

What is the communities understanding of water technology? What type of filtration is necessary? Are there other projects in the area? Have they failed and why? 

Are we able to charge for water usage? How do most people make their income? Can this project create jobs? What other aspects of the community benefit from clean water?

How long are the rainy seasons? Are the rainy seasons becoming shorter? What type of soil and bedrock is expected? Has a recent change in water quality occurred?

Are there tribal conflicts in the community? Are their regulations and requirements we have to follow? Are their political issues locally and nationally? Will politicians use our project for political gain?

Hiking the Appalachian Trail: Walking So Children Can Have Clean Water

On May 1st, Chris Roma begins his first steps of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail to help raise awareness and donations for clean water efforts. He had the lucky chance of meeting James when the Continental Divide Trail intersected James's Cross Country Walk. Since then, they have both remained good friends and in contact to work together to give people clean drinking water. 

Chris will be completing his triple crown when he finished the Appalachian Trail. A big moment of recognition in the outdoor community, meaning he has completed the Pacific Crest Trail (2,800 miles), the Continental Divide Trail (3,100 miles), and the soon to be Appalachian Trail.

Here is what Chris had to say about his upcoming journey:

"I am feeling like the world is waiting for me to be the change I want in the world and I am ready to take the steps.  Literally and physically. I feel confident and nervous knowing that this is the last of the 3 thru hikes. Feel strong, determined, focused, at peace, loved, supported from loved ones and friends, but I feel that this is the way to become the man my destiny wants me to be. 

My gear consists of my Pacfic Crest Trail tent 2 years ago, The north face mica fl1, a north face light weight sleeping bag from last year’s Continental Divide Trail hike, new Patagonia trail shorts, Darn Tough Vermont handmade socks, a used but new for me Hyperlite handmade bag,  Lekki trekking poles,  3 pairs of Salomon speed cross 4s, my Nikon d5100 DSLR to capture the moments never to be forgotten, Patagonia ultralight rain jacket, Northface ultralight weight puff hoodie, my jetboil for cooking, an ultralight inflatable sea to summit sleeping pad, Saywer water filter, and finally an iPhone 6 with a straight talk plan from Walmart!!! 

My overall plan is to create 3 water projects by raising $33,000.  One to represent my completion of the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail. One to represent last year’s completion of the $3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail. And this year, to end my triple crown with the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail.   I feel that the state of NH has my back and the USA does as well. The plan is to make this world a better place day by day. The best way to do that is to crush the Appalachian Trail.  No days off for 33 days because I want to raise $33,000.  I want to be done by mid-August taking 110 days to complete the thru-hike. This is an average of 22-23 miles per day which is no easy feat considering the rocky nature of the trail. During the 110 days, I will stay sober, no booze.  Stay vegetarian and follow the diet I did on the Continental Divide Trail as much as possible. 

I want to pass people and never get passed.  The more people I pass the more people I get the chance to talk to about MissionCleanWater and the work being done. No child or family should have to live searching for water every day that will just get them sick. I am walking for the girls that have to walk every day. Time to show people and other hikers how much I want this for the country of Kenya and the continent of Africa."

Community Based Water Management

There are many reasons a clean water project can fail. If one part is forgotten, then everything can collapse. One main reason for a stopped project is the lack of provided education to the community from the affiliate organization. Eventually, some part of the water infrastructure will break causing the entire project to settle. Since clean water cannot be collected, the community moves back to their original dirty water source. By working with the community and being welcomed, we can avoid any failed projects.

Community management is key to making sure clean water projects do not fail. A project can not start until a Water User Committee is formed. They are a group of individuals representing the entire community that are in charge of maintaining the community water resource. Each Water User Committee has different roles that are necessary in order to take care of their project. For example, each committee will have a chairman and a chairwoman that hold community meetings. There is a water technician that can replace broken parts. Most importantly, each Water User Committee member is fully trained in project maintenance to fix any broken pieces. 

These roles are necessary for their project. Another important aspect of the Water User Committee is the utilization of education. It is also their role to keep the community educated on water and sanitation. They are taking advantage of all best management practices because they understand how important water is.

11th annual Global Water Alliance Conference

On April 5th, MissionCleanWater attended the Global Water Alliance Conference at Villanova University. Water experts from around the world discussed a hidden resource, groundwater. 2.2 billion people across the world use groundwater as their primary drinking water source. Different public health and water professionals discussed what issues we face with groundwater and the steps we can take to prevent them.
The use of groundwater is nothing new. Since the 1970s, when Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) programs started to increase, groundwater was a good solution. Communities that were easy to reach received clean water and the water-providing organization quickly moved on. This quick process has led to over 60% of all Sub-Saharan African projects to fail. There are many reasons why, but the main one being poor management of groundwater resources. Since communities cannot see groundwater, they might be misusing it or not realize it is contaminated. Since then, better oversight, management, and strategies have been created to avoid any of these issues.

Groundwater is an important resource and the only way to provide clean water to communities in arid climates. These communities have been left behind because of their harder and more expensive solutions. With proper research, education, and monitoring, they too can have clean drinking water. To have a successful clean water project, all social, technical, economic, and political factors need to be taken into account.

Future Global Water Shortages

Current world water supplies are becoming overused and polluted.  As the demand for water continues to increase, civil unrest is expected to follow. More people are moving to urban landscapes. With continued stress on the world's water resources, by 2050, 5.4 billion people are expected to live in water-scarce areas. These people will have to rely on conservation methods to have clean water in the future.

The trends of Climate Change show the wetter areas will get wetter while the drier areas are getting drier. Communities dry climates can expect less rain and nothing to replenish their water source. For example, Capetown is a 4 million person city that now has to ration daily water usage to 12 gallons of water a day. Citizens follow strict guidelines to conserve as much water as possible. 

Water Conservation efforts have to be made in all sectors. This includes the reuse of water to help water fields, gardens, and household use. Proper forest and soil management is necessary to better retain and distribute water. For the ninth time, water experts are meeting in Brazil to discuss the future of water management.