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New Mexico. Right: George McGraw (BA ‘09) sits on a water well drilling rig in South Sudan.


hauled in trucks and kept in drums outside the home. DIGDEEP is partnering with the community to build a new well, deliver clean water via new routes, and build small water towers with solar heaters near every home. The tow- ers will use gravity to feed clean water into sinks and toilets.


into the charity model,” McGraw says. “In South Sudan, for example, we are working on access for villages and schools and clinics, but also for a prison. It can be hard to explain to donors why prisoners need water. But if you look at it as a right, it really is something that’s an injustice to prisoners and people who work there.” McGraw also seeks to draw attention to the ways in which Americans


B


consume water. “As a country that consumes the most of any other country per capita, we


need to take this more seriously, not only because it will help us treat others as equals, but because we’re facing our own water crisis here at home,” McGraw says. “When you understand water’s true value and what it takes to get to you,


ecause McGraw views water access as a right, he doesn’t consider DIGDEEP a charity organization. “If we continue as Americans to look at water poverty as a charity problem, we overlook a lot of places that don’t fit so neatly


it’s like an astronaut seeing earth from space for the first time. You see how small the planet is and how connected.” To help demonstrate this, DIGDEEP encourages a “4 Liter Challenge,” in


which participants attempt to use just four liters of water a day over a span of five days—the amount of water many people in the world (some in the United States) regularly live on. The idea is not just to demonstrate how accustomed most of us are to abundant water and how difficult life can be without it, but to raise awareness (and even funds) for the communities that live without it. DIGDEEP is now reaching out to schools, corporations, and other


organizations as partners in education and advocacy. DIGDEEP is also active- ly fundraising to expand its water projects to other communities, including scaling up in the United States. “We’re not just trying to bring clean water to communities, but to change


the way we look at water on the whole,” McGraw says. “We don’t have to be the organization drilling every well, but we want to help others to do more sustainable, human-rights-focused work. We can’t solve these problems alone.” Together, McGraw and the organization he founded, along with new


partners and the people they educate, will help bring water access and infrastructure to those who need it most.


digdeepwater.org4liters.org SPRING 2014 21


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