October 26th, 2010
11:21 AM ET

iReport challenge: #BeAHero for clean water

Editor's Note: Learn about the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010 and vote for the CNN Hero of the Year at CNNHeroes.com.

An outbreak of cholera in Haiti has killed more than 250 people and sickened thousands.

The culprit: Contaminated drinking water.

Worldwide, the water crisis is huge. Nearly a billion people lack access to safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.

You’re probably not one of them. Be thankful, and for today’s "Be A Hero" challenge, do something today to protect the resource for yourself and others:

1. Get informed about the work being done to provide clean water to people around the world. Watch this piece about 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley's work to provide clean water to Haitians through his organization Wine to Water. And this video about actor Matt Damon's visit to a hand dug well to see the daily struggle to find water in Ethiopia. (Damon is co-founder of Water.org, a U.S.-based nonprofit providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries.) '

2. Do one thing to conserve water today. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth tonight. Take a shorter shower, and while you’re doing that, place a bucket in the shower to catch excess water and use it to water the plants later.

Then tell us about it, either in the comments below, on iReport or on Twitter using the hashtag #BeAHero.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. JayInAtlanta

    Thanks for another great challenge. Clean drinking water seems like a basic right of living on this planet, but many are deprived. This is something we CAN correct, so I appreciate the info on the Wine to Water charity. Last week, I used Water.org as one of my charities on the #BeAHero for charity challenge, and my wife and I donate regularly to their efforts.

    I also do want to point out Charity:Water on the web (http://www.charitywater.org) & on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/CharityWater). This is another organization doing good work on this important issue. In fact, today, prior to your challenge, their feed had the excellent news about digging 20 boreholes in rural Uganda, which will be used to provide clean water.

    Finally, thanks for the advice about collecting so-called "gray water" in the shower, in order to conserve cleaner sources of water. I have not done that before, but will begin today, since my wife and I have plenty of plants that could benefit.

    October 26, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Linda Wieringa

    Water can not stay clean without sanitation. Toilets prevent disease and death. An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide do not have access to sanitation. WTO’s mission is to improve toilets and sanitation globally.

    World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. WTO is also one of the few organizations to focus on toilets instead of water, which receives more attention and resources under the common subject of sanitation.

    Sanitation brings benefits of health and dignity to humanity especially to the slums, and rural areas. Promotion of ecological sanitation through recycling of excreta helps prevent environmental pollution into water ways.


    October 26, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dave

    I don't waste water, but I'll never take shorter showers. If every man woman and child took a shorter shower, it would be a drop in the bucket compared to how much water is wasted AND POLLUTED by industry. I'm tired of environmental responsibility always getting shouldered on the backs of the individual whilst corporations can go on destroying the earth.

    October 26, 2010 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Hannah

    This is a great challenge and an even better opportunity. In June I traveled to Cambodia and was moved to act. In August I teamed up with a non-profit organization in Cambodia, Journeys Within Our Community, to raise funds for a water well in a village outside of Siem Reap. In my efforts to raise funds, I have been training for the Honolulu Marathon that takes place 12 December! It has been an exciting (and challenging) few months of raising and training, but the source to serve, FOR CLEAN WATER has kept us going. Definitely check out journeyswithinourcommunity.org to get more information about their various projects, as well as Hannah's Run for Water!

    October 27, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gloria Hilton

    It is not only in other countries that water is becoming a serious issue. Just ask anyone around the great lakes who have had their fresh water supplies pumped away by Nestle only to be sold at a profit . We must protect our community water systems. We are in danger NOW.

    November 6, 2010 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  6. Burton Danet, Ph.D.

    Teh iReport file tlls about a doable IMMEDIATE plan to get relief into Haiti with superior advanced technology for water. Now there is a challenge to say what you are doing to help conserve water! Or to volunteer! #BeAHero is the hash tag for Twitter. Here is the report: WELL WATER for Haiti: http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-516035

    November 7, 2010 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |