Chennai: A City With No Water

Chennai is India's sixth largest city with a population of 4.6 million. It is the cultural and economic hub for southern India. Currently, Chennai residents are suffering a water shortage because of a bad monsoon season.

There was little rain during the monsoon season meaning the four reservoirs the city relies on did not fill up and are now running dry. The level of available water has dropped so low that schools and businesses have cut their hours so that employees or students have more time to collect water. The only locations to collect water are from wells dug around the city for groundwater or from water trucks that have been delivering water.

The wells using groundwater are being over drafted to the point that the water coming out is not consumable. Wells are being dug 1,000ft and continuously pumped. The water trucks that are delivering water are price gauging what they have to offer because it can not fit the demand. People are paying 50% of their monthly salary only on water.

Is there any light at the end of the tunnel of Chennai? It is expected to rain again in October and November. Citizens that have the opportunity to leave the city have done so until the water crisis ends. Citizens are pushing for a long term water conservation and development plan since water is a vital limited resource. If not, then it is expected that 40% of India's 1.34 billion citizens will not have water.

The Changes Agirigiroi Will See

Our first team meeting with Agirigiroi was in August of 2018. During that initial visit, they showed us the severity of their water issues. Since then, we have been working closely with them to develop a clean water solution. Each community member has worked closely with us to create the perfect solution for them. Since August, we have continued the project process and are ready to begin the final step.

Agirigiroi's current water situation is dire and in need of intervention. During our August 2018 field assessment trip to Uganda, Agirigiroi was the one highlighted community with the most severe water scenario. This is because there is no clean water source within 4 kms (2.5 miles). The water sources they use go dry for 4 months every year. What they do drink can effortlessly make someone sick. The combination of frequent illness and time spent collecting water is limiting the number of opportunities for community members hindered by dirty water.

Together, we have developed a solution that will fix all of the health and time issues people are currently facing. The first is the development of a readily available clean water source. A borehole was drilled for Agirigiroi finding a very productive water table. Since there is so much water, we know that there is enough for people to continuously use. The well will be solar powered so it can be pumped year round without any issues. Finally, different collection points are going to be created within Agirigiroi so that no one will have more than a .5km walk to have clean water.

To show the work being completed, we hope you enjoy this video.


Using Clean Water to cover the long distances

Clean water is necessary to be able to explore and go on adventures. Ryan is going to begin a 50 mile Spartan weekend. Read below one of his race reports as he runs with the spartan community in a ultra marathon weekend. To learn more about his journey, visit https://missioncleanwater.org/ryankennedy

This was my third consecutive year attending the Winter Sprint at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Central New York. In 2017, the temperatures in the morning were well below zero, and the wind chill was around -14 degrees Fahrenheit.  This year we really lucked out!  The air temperature rose to up around 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and the winds were calm.  This made for an absolutely beautiful race day.

        The race course was very similar to years passed and began with a 500ft vertical climb straight up one of the biggest ski slopes.  This was to ensure that all racers had burning lungs, and legs right out of the gate. We then looped around and ran straight downhill through much thicker woods on some technical terrain. There we hit our first gauntlet of obstacles including the rings, barbed wire, atlas stones, rope climb, and sandbag carry.

        After our first obstacle gauntlet, the course was very flat which made for some fast-paced running, soon to be slowed down by the gravel bucket carry (~70lbs for males), monkey bars, and 150lb sandbag hoist. I was able to perform very well on all obstacles during this race, only failing my spear throw, which missed the target slightly to the left.

        The last leg of the course turned us back toward the start line and took us up the initial starting slope one more time for another 600ft vertical climb, this time through thick woods. This is where some racers really started to slow down, as the last slope had a seriously steep incline. The trail looped back around which led to a slippery downhill plunge toward the finish line. I was able to complete the 4-mile course in one hour and twenty minutes, placing me in the top half of the overall competitive race. I enjoyed the course so much I ran it again! I totaled over 8 miles and 2,500ft vertical gain on the day, enjoying a sunny, warm winter day.

Adventuring and Clean Water: The Mt. Everest Challenge

What does it take within a person to want to climb the tallest mountain in the world? A lot of mental grit, physical conditioning, $75,000, and three months of free time. Accomplishing Mt. Everest is an outdoor enthusiasts life goal but comes with a lot of risks and environmental consequences. As a fundraiser MissionCleanWater, James Leitner created his own Mt. Everest climb that simulated everything besides the altitude.

To climb Mt. Everest, the mountaineer will climb 17,000ft in elevation and 32 miles in distance. Altitude is the biggest challenge because of the low levels of oxygen. Many people do not realize that only a small percentage of the day is spent hiking, while the rest is spent acclimating to the low oxygen content in the air.

James set out on a unique goal called the Mt. Everest Challenge was he was going to run a hill continuously until he accomplished 29,000ft (height of Mt. Everest) in elevation. To symbolize our current water project, he carried a 45lb water jug for 1,500ft or the population of our partner community. He found a steep hill and trained accordingly to run up and down 116 times.

At 4:30 am, James started, moving faster then he planned. After 4 hours, he started to do the downhill portions backward to save his legs from the constant pounding. After 6 hours, he was officially half way.

The second half was called the "Grey Area". James has never covered this much elevation before so he was unsure how his body would handle it. After 12 hours, he felt ill and fatigued. After 16 hours, James completed his last lap and finished the challenge.

Agirigiroi Project Update: Finding Gold

In January 2019, we completed a successful borehole drilling for Agirigiroi. All of the tests we needed to complete merited great results meaning we have exceptional water quality and quantity. So what happens next and when can the community start using this water source? Great question.

Our current issue is that we found a lot of water, we mean A LOT of water. Our original design cannot move this much water. To put it into perspective, the aquifer we found is the biggest in the district. The second biggest can sustainably provide 125 liters (33 gallons) of water every hour. The aquifer we found can sustainably provide 3,375 liters (892 gallons) of water every hour. To move all of this extra water, we need stronger pipes, more solar energy, and a powerful pump.

We have already provided training for the community on what to expect next. Next would include completing all of the water storage and distribution parts. Once completed, the solar energy and pump can be installed to begin providing clean water to everyone. Before the system would officially get turned on, final training would take place to run through the entire system with the community.

At this point, the only thing holding us back is the availability of funds. This project will guarantee a life long supply of clean water and drastically change the effects of poor water and sanitation. Together, let's raise funds and work with Agirigiroi to end their water crisis.

Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Water. What Makes Clean Water

Water is necessary for life. There is no debating that fact. Humans, animals, insects, and plants all need a regular supply of water to stay alive. The human body is 60% water and helps promote the healthy function of the body. Close to a billion people do not have access to clean water and are forced to drink dirty water.

There are three main types of pollutants that make dirty water. Sediment, living organisms, and chemicals. One common misconception with bad water is that it is always a murky brown color, but the pollutants that are going to kill someone are invisible or stay hidden in clear water.

If a water source is not protected, many outside elements can enter the water well such as dirt, rocks, or mud that turn the water into a dark brown color. The discoloration makes the water look unappetizing so no one will want to drink it. Sediment is easy to clean by using small screens to remove any dirt creating clear water.

Once water is clear, the dangerous contaminants have to be eliminated. When people bath or wash dishes in the same water source, different types of bacteria can enter the water. Many animals go to the bathroom close to the unprotected water source which will eventually run off into the drinking water. If those bacteria or parasites are consumed, someone can become very ill and even die if their immune system is too weak. The bacteria has to be killed from the water through different solutions such as chlorination, using bleach, or a UV filter.

The last step is to remove all chemicals, minerals, and salts. Low quantities of some minerals are not harmful but can be lethal at large quantities. An example is fluoride. Fluoride is used at low quantities in water to keep pipes and consumers healthy. Once the quantity of fluoride exceeds a particular threshold, consumers can experience liver damage and other digestive issues. All of these elements have to be filtered out.

Many substances can make water unhealthy. Through proper planning and testing, the right method of filtering can be employed to create a clean water source.