In the developed world, if you want a drink of water you just turn on a tap or open a bottle. But for millions of families worldwide, finding clean water is a daily challenge, and kids are often the ones responsible for carrying water to their homes. Every Last Drop looks at why the world’s water resources are at risk and how communities around the world are finding innovative ways to quench their thirst and water their crops. Maybe you’re not ready to drink fog, as they do in Chile, or use water made from treated sewage, but you can get a low-flush toilet, plant a tree, protect a wetland or just take shorter showers. Every Last Drop counts!
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Text copyright © 2014 Michelle Mulder
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Mulder, Michelle, 1976- Every Last Drop: bringing clean water home / Michelle Mulder. (Orca footprints)
Includes bibliographical references and index. Issued also in electronic formats. ISBN 978-1-4598-0223-0 (bound).--ISBN 978-1-4598-0224-7 (pdf).-- ISBN 978-1-4598-0712-9 (epub)
1. Water quality management--Juvenile literature. 2. Water resources development--Juvenile literature. I. Title. II. Series: Orca footprints hd1691.m84 2014 - j333.91 - c2013-906646-2 - c2013-906647-0
First published in the United States, 2014Library of Congress Control Number: 2013951377
Summary: Clean water is a precious resource in a thirsty world.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Cover images by Getty Images and Dreamstime Back cover images (top left to right): Gastón Castaño, Jim Holmes, Green Empowerment/Evan Sabogal; (bottom left to right): Centre for Affordable Water & Sanitation Technology (CAWST), Dreamstime, Getty Images
Design and production by Teresa Bubela and Jenn Playford
Ebook by Bright Wing Books (brightwing.ca)
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 5626, Stn. B Victoria, BC Canada V8R 6S4
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 98240-0468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
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CHAPTER ONE: A DROP TO DRINK
Slurp It Up, Buttercup
Hey, Water! Come This Way!
Well, Well, Well
The Forgotten Flush
Three Cheers for Gravity!
Look Out Below
Full Steam Ahead!
The Great Stink
CHAPTER TWO: RIDING THE WATER CYCLE
Water, Water, Everywhere
Swamping the Swamps
Check Out These Pipes!
The Water Drain
CHAPTER THREE: PUMP IT UP
Drop by Drop
Getting the Nasties Out
Nailing the Problem
Drinking the Ocean
All Bottled Up
CHAPTER FOUR: DEEPENING THE WELL
Flushed with Pride
Thirsty? Plant a Tree
Fog in Your Cup
Drops by the Bucketful
The Ripple Effect
Me, Mel and Padre David, the priest who hosted us in Pamparomas, Peru. Mel and I were about to begin a hike up the mountains to visit the lake that provides the town with its water. MELANIE FRICOT
Have you ever been to a place where it’s dangerous to rinse your toothbrush under the tap?
When I was twenty-three, I visited my friend Mel, who had volunteered to lead development groups in Peru. For two months I hiked with her to tiny settlements in the mountains, worked on my Spanish, and even tried making bread in an adobe oven.
Then, suddenly, I got very sick. For days I spent almost all my time in the bathroom. Mel borrowed a truck to drive me three hours to the nearest hospital, and medical tests showed that bacteria (germs) from our water had multiplied in my digestive system. Antibiotics—and an intravenous drip that rehydrated my body—saved my life.
Not everyone is so lucky. Every day thousands of people—most of them children—die because they’ve drunk dirty water (or they don’t have clean water to wash with) and they can’t get to a doctor. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Around the world, people are finding creative ways to collect and clean all the water they need. Did you know that some families in Botswana use solar power to turn salt water into fresh water? Or that some folks in Chile use huge nets to catch fog that becomes clean drinking water? And at schools in several places, kids collect clean water by playing on playground-powered water pumps!
Everyone on the planet has a right to clean water, and people are working hard to make this a reality. Want to find out more? Grab a water bottle, and come with me!
These lakes, high in the mountains above Pamparomas, are the local drinking water source.The lakes were first built hundreds of years ago, then fell into disrepair and were recently reconstructed. MICHELLE MULDER
In this tiny settlement in rural Peru, people get their drinking water from a stream that runs between the houses. You can see it here at the bottom of the photo. MICHELLE MULDER
When I got sick in Peru, the news spread through the town quickly, and soon people appeared at our door with traditional remedies. Meanwhile, Mel whipped up more salty banana milkshakes than I’d ever imagined. (Yes, they were just as disgusting as they sound, but we knew that I needed to drink sugar, salt and fluids to get better.) In the end, it was Mel’s access to a truck and hospital that saved my life. Happily, I’ve never had to drink a salty milkshake since.
When you don’t have a water tap nearby, rivers and lakes are crucial. These families in Morocco wash clothes in their local river. HENRY MULDER
If your family decided to move, what would you look for in a new place? A big living room? A school, playground, library or shops nearby? Thousands of years ago—and even today, in many places—the first thing you’d look for was the nearest lake or river.
Every living thing needs water to survive. (And if you’ve ever swallowed salt water when swimming in the ocean, you know that not just any water will do. We need fresh, clean water.) Early humans slurped from rivers and lakes, using their hands as cups. These days, many people can drink a glass of water right in their own homes, simply by turning on a tap. How did we get here from there? The story begins about 12,000 years ago, with the planting of a seed.
Imagine waking up to the birds twittering and your stomach rumbling. You crawl out of bed to look for something to eat—not in the fridge, but in the bush outside your tent. A little while later, you’re chewing on a chunk of meat and tossing back a few berries.
This underground cistern in Istanbul, Turkey, was built 1,400 years ago by over 7,000 slaves. GIOVANNI DE CARO/DREAMSTIME.COM
WATER FACT: A person can live for weeks without food, but only a few days without water. The human brain is 75 percent water. Blood has even more water in it, and even our bones are 20 percent water. No wonder we need to drink so often!
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