The New York Marathon finished last Sunday on Nov 5, 2017. While several days have passed, the excitement of seeing so many runners, the cheering crowd, and crossing the finish line in one of the most iconic races in the world is still so fresh on the mind. It has been such an extraordinary experience.
Determined to Run
Though I have run marathons a couple times before, I have never run a New York Marathon. In the last 2 years, I registered for the lottery, but never won. This year, with the high hope that “3 is the charm”, I was very sure that I would be able to make it. But the email came yet again telling me otherwise.
Hugely disappointed, I started to consider the only option, which I never looked at before – fundraising for charity. When I scrolled down the long list of organizations, came upon “Water for People”, and read through its description, right then I knew – this is it, I will fundraise to run my New York Marathon, and I will fundraise for Water for People.
Water is something that I have been working on for the last 2 years. Run for water – there is nothing more fitting to describe my mission for this marathon.
The Drought, and WaterEfficientGarden.com
From 2011-2016, California experienced an epic drought. At its worst, the water content in California’s snowpack was only 5% the normal level. Suddenly, everyone realized how valuable the water resource is, and how we must do everything possible to conserve water.
From “STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD RESOLUTION NO. 2015-0032”:
“Achieving a 25 percent reduction in use will require even greater conservation efforts across the state. In particular, many communities must dramatically reduce their outdoor water use;”
“In many areas, 50 percent or more of daily water use is for lawns and outdoor landscaping. Outdoor water use is generally discretionary, and many irrigated landscapes will survive while receiving a decreased amount of water;”
To convert a lawn to a water efficient garden is the most effective way to conserve water. For a lawn of 500 square feet, it can take as much as 4000 gallons of water in a month; if it is replaced with a water efficient garden, 30% to 80% of water can be conserved. Suppose the original household water usage is 8000 gallons a month, and the garden saves 50% of water, the total water usage will reduce to 6000 gallons, a 25% saving versus the original.
It was during the drought, WaterEfficientGarden.com was created to help more people build water efficient gardens, conserving more water.
Water for People
According to its website, “Water For People is an international nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to creating reliable, safe drinking water resources, improved sanitation facilities, and hygiene education programs in the developing world; it currently operates in 10 countries: Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, India, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Bolivia & Peru. ”
“The organization’s unique business-oriented approach works to establish partnerships between local and national government institutions, nongovernment organizations, private enterprise, and entrepreneurs to enable local communities, districts, and municipalities to plan, build, finance, maintain, and operate their own safe water and sanitation services. Water For People puts long-lasting solutions and 100% coverage of a region with safe water access for everyone at the forefront of its strategy. It fosters innovative solutions to water and sanitation problems that are adaptable worldwide, and through monitoring and evaluation of its program impact for at least 10 years post-implementation, Water For People ensures that its work is sustained by local partners.”
Water for People is rated 4 star by Charity Navigator, the highest of the ratings.
While the angles to work on the water issue are very different, we both try to address the same root – water. At Water for People, it aims to create more clean water resources for people; at WaterEfficientGarden.com, we want to help people conserve more water with water efficient landscaping.
It is Global
At the New York Marathon opening ceremony, runners from every country walked in a parade, a scene that strongly reminds you of the opening ceremony of Olympics. Yes, running is truly global today. In the more than 50000 finishers of the New York Marathon this year, 139 countries were represented.
Water is a critical resource for all human. The water crisis we may be facing tomorrow is equally global. United Nations predicts that in 2050, the number of urban dwellers living with seasonal water shortages will reach 1.9 billion, or more than a quarter of the world’s population. A global issue takes a global effort. We will need efforts like those of Water for People, and the energy behind the global running phenomenon to tackle the challenges together.
At WaterEfficientGarden.com, we aim to make it easier for people to build water efficient gardens, so more water can be conserved. As STATE WATER RESOURCES CONTROL BOARD RESOLUTION NO. 2015-0032 indicated: “Water conservation is the easiest, most efficient and most cost-effective way to quickly reduce water demand and extend supplies into the next year, providing flexibility for all California communities. ” One of the easiest and effective ways is to replace a lawn with water efficient garden. Not only will it conserve water, but it can provide a beautiful view for the house, and give food to pollinators.
To solve the water issue globally is not unlike a marathon – it takes effort from everyone, and over a long period of time. Just like that in a marathon though, when everyone puts their mind, sweat and work into it, the finish line can be reached ultimately. Run for water – and we will win at the end.