March 17, 2011
DALLAS (SMU) – SMU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders will use World Water Day on Tuesday, March 22, to spotlight the role of safe drinking water in relieving global poverty, while partnering with three local restaurants to raise funds for a water distribution project in Central America.
Vapiano, Pokey-O’s and Rockfish (the Mockingbird Station location) have all agreed to donate a percentage of their receipts from SMU diners to help fund the engineering group’s $35,000 plan to install piping and a water storage tank in Panimacac, Guatemala. Vapiano and Poky O’s will donate a portion of receipts March 22, only, while Rockfish will donate a portion of receipts March 22-25.
As a symbol of support for World Water Day and its goals, SMU will turn off its campus fountains from Noon to 1 p.m. March 22. SMU already incorporates a variety of aggressive water conservation measures on campus, including rainwater collection from Caruth, Simmons and Patterson Halls and the use of grey water (wastewater produced from sources like lavatories and showers, but not toilets or kitchen sinks) for irrigation outside the Embrey Engineering Building, Caruth Hall, the Jerry Junkins Building and Simmons Hall. The residential housing project soon to be constructed on the southeast corner of the campus also will incorporate grey water irrigation, and the campus already has 300 waterless urinals in use.
Representatives from SMU’s Engineers Without Borders chapter will be located at the main fountain to share information about world water needs and their own projects. SMU’s Sustainability Committee and Office of Facilities Management will distribute free low-flow shower heads there, as well.
EWB-SMU is a non-profit student organization that partners with disadvantaged communities to implement sustainable solutions to community problems. “Approximately one in every eight people does not have access to safe water, and this situation keeps an enormous number of people trapped in a cycle of disease and poverty,” said Hannah McGary, a member of the SMU Engineers Without Borders chapter.
World Water Day 2011, sponsored by United Nations groups dedicated to urban and environmental issues, is focused specifically on the growing problems of water availability in urban slums:
- Today, one in two people on the planet live in a city.
- Most urbanization is occurring in poor or developing countries, and nearly 40 percent of urban expansion is growing slums.
- City populations are growing faster than city infrastructure can adapt. Piped water coverage is declining in many settings, and poor people get the worst services while paying the highest prices for water.
SMU will continue its examination of global water issues during Engineering & Humanity Week, April 11-14. Sponsored by the Hunter & Stephanie Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity at SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering, the “Living Village” will be the physical centerpiece for the week, where students will study, cook their meals and sleep in temporary shelters designed to house people displaced by war and natural disasters.
The “village” will include a portable shelter called the Habihut configured for use as a portable water kiosk in slum and refugee camp settings where piped water is impractical or impossible. Visitors to the Living Village can also participate in demonstrations that show the difficulty of daily living in scarce water circumstances.