Indiana Water Summit hopes for global reach

A U.S. Army officer inspects a village water well near east Africa's Somali Peninsula.

Presenters at the first annual Indiana Global Water Summit come

from different areas of expertise, but the group of teachers and sustainability

experts all offer innovative solutions for the global water crisis. On Saturday,

Dec. 10, they'll share their proposals with the community during a full day of

presentations at the Christian Theological Seminary.

The day will include six breakout sessions, where presenters

will address everything from sustainable project development to new water

purification systems. The event will direct its attention towards

the half-billion people worldwide that live without access to clean water.

"By 2025, more than one-third of the world's population

will face severe and chronic water shortages," said organizer Nick Reich,

executive director at Circles Indiana.

Several of the day's sessions will

address the growing challenge of providing water system development solutions to communities in impoverished areas.

"The water

crisis is not one of absolute scarcity as much as poor management and

inequitable distribution. In order to avoid a 'hole-punch' effect in

developing nations with water wells and bore holes, new design and connectivity

will be crucial."

Aside from basic

hydration, summit speakers say that water can be used on an even greater scale

-- as a form of currency. According to Reich, online organizations like WaterCredit.org are focused on using micro lending to increase access

to safe water.

"Microfinance

is being used in many different ways relating to water," Reich says.

"One example is providing satchels that minimize waste to bag water in the

local community for resale in the cities. This money can be reinvested in

more satchels and the community can reinvest funds for the maintenance of the

wells."

Local Impact

The summit could prove useful in solving Indiana's own ongoing water crisis as well. From sewer

overflow to river and stream pollution, the state's water systems leave much

room for improvement.

"According to the AP, 46 million Americans, including

some in Indianapolis, have trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in their drinking

water," Reich says. "In addition, 43% of cities report repair and

replacement cycles that exceed 50 years for water pipes, and over a million miles of

water pipes in the U.S. generally

aren't replaced until failure."

Keynote speaker

Brandon Pitcher will present his ideas for globalized water system development,

but his expertise has a local focus as well. His current

work with 5 Kingdoms Development, LLC helps midwestern communities integrate

sustainable systems into their infrastructure. In 2010, he was Indiana

Green Business' Awards "Green Entrepreneur of the Year," and was recognized

by Sen. Lugar's office this year for his commitment to sustainability education

and social entrepreneurship.

Fellow speaker Michael Bayer has brought his ideas for clean

water development to the classroom in Berne, In. Recently named Indiana

Science Teacher of the Year for his work at South Adams High School, Bayer aids

his science students in creating new water purification and filtration

systems for use in developing areas. His students will soon travel to Haiti to install their new systems in

affected communities.

Other speakers will include Maggie Kirkpatrick of Building

Tomorrow, Inc.

, who'll discuss sustainable project development; and Bill Farrar, founder of

Fountains of Hope, who'll address new water purification and filtration

technologies.

The Indiana Water Summit is free, with lunch provided at no cost. For info an online registration, visit the Indiana Water Summit's Facebook page.

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