When we sat down with Ken Surritte, Founder of clean water non-profit WATERisLIFE, he reminded us how little water the world has to share. About 97% of the earth's water is saltwater. We cannot drink, wash, or sanitize with it. Another 2.5% is frozen in the polar ice caps. This leaves 0.5% of clean water to be shared among 7.5 billion people, who compete to generate power, grow crops, wash their cars, shower, clean dishes, and drink.  

Population escalation is stretching this resource even farther and as the math suggests, not everyone is getting their share. It's a cause for major concern.  

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler says unsafe drinking water poses the greatest and most immediate global threat to the environment, even over climate change.  

Living Without Water 

WATERisLIFE works to end the World Water Crisis and bring safe water to schools and villages within 46 countries (and counting), all desperate for this basic resource.  

Water, according to the United Nations, is a fundamental human right. It's essential for hydration and hygiene. Surritte says the water in many areas of the world is so contaminated and filthy "you wouldn't wash your dog in it." 

It's hard to believe more than 1 billion people around the world have no access to safe water. In the United States, we bask in beverage abundance. Our drink options are nearly limitless and always within reach- whether from a fridge, at the gas station, or a sink faucet. We almost can't fathom: what is it like not having water? 

WATERisLIFE infographic

Courtesy WATERisLIFE

Kids Are Hit Hardest  

The severity of the Global Water Crisis becomes impossible to deny when considering 6,000 people will die today from not having access to clean drinking water. Among them, 5,000 will be children, Surritte explains.  

"Most kids get about 8 oz of water a day, and it's not safe to drink," he says. "That is not enough to keep our brains and bodies hydrated." Children under the age of five are particularly susceptible to unsafe water as their immune systems are not yet adapted to their environments. Outside the home, most schools in afflicted areas have no wells. Among those that do, wells are broken, compromising the quality and safety of the water.   

How do you even begin changing that reality?  

Surritte says, through inspiration, not guilt. 

Raising Awareness With Inspiration (Not Guilt)  

Amid the injustices nonprofits witness on a daily basis, WATERisLIFE remains optimistic. They believe inspiring others to join the cause can be done with uplifting and inspirational communication (instead of guilt). 

With positive, affirming education and on-the-ground work with communities suffering from the Global Water Crisis, WATERisLIFE wakes a refreshing current over the nonprofit sector.  

One example of spreading awareness occurred in 2013, when WATERisLIFE shared a video of a four-year-old Kenyan boy, Nkaitole. The video titled, "4 Year Olds Bucket List" followed Nkaitole as WATERisLIFE helped him cross off adventures and personal landmarks he wanted to experience before he died. A bucket list is usually created by seniors as a way to experience more during life. The video skillfully showed the reality that due to unsafe drinking water Nkaitole had a one in five chance of living past his fifth birthday. However, watching it inspires joy, hope, and a desire to help.  

"Nkaitole is a rockstar," Surritte says. "He brought safe water to his village and his school. From one well, we were able to dig pipes to other villages as well." 

Wells, Filters, & Treatment Plants  

That's the kind of work WATERisLIFE does, and on a tremendous scale. Their methods of solving the World Water Crisis are targeted through local investments and activations that include drilling wells, creating rainwater catchment systems, distributing personal straw water filters, educating children and villagers about hygiene, disaster relief, and installing solar and wind-powered water treatment plants with the power to provide 20,000 liters of safe water per day.  

They're getting real s*** done, and excel in acting fast.  

waterislifeDisaster Relief  

In 2010, Haiti experienced a debilitating earthquake and WATERisLIFE was one of the first responders.  

"Doctors were literally giving our filters to patients," Surritte says. These personal water filters also protected many from the cholera epidemic.  

Later in 2017, WATERisLIFE volunteers were at ground zero in Mexico following a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. That same year as Puerto Rico was hit with Hurricane Maria, WATERisLIFE installed solar and wind-powered water treatment plants that provided thousands of liters of safe water a day while acting as charging stations and Wi-Fi hubs so loved ones could reach out to family and friends.  

Here's an archive of more hands-on projects.  

The Next Big Wave  

Surritte founded WATERisLIFE in 2007 following his first trip to Africa. Fast forward 12 years and Surritte has built perhaps the most successful water-related nonprofit on the planet with big projects on the horizon- including an atmospheric water generator that can be carried on an airplane and produce millions of gallons of recyclable water. Surritte was also appointed as ambassador to the climate change division at the UN, working on major projects as WATERisLIFE chugs on.  

WATERisLIFE has volunteer trips planned to Africa and China in the coming months, where people like you and me can go overseas and help side-by-side with Surritte.  

The nonprofit is also bolstering its partnership with global healthy beverages company New Age Beverages, representing brands Bucha, Marley, Coco Libre, and Xing Tea. As part of this company's social responsibility mission, new eco-friendly bottled waters are being created with 100% of proceeds going back to WATERisLIFE, plus a pending round-up campaign across its brands.  

This way, ordinary people can give back simply by hydrating. A bottle of WATERisLIFE gives clean drinking water to someone in need. All the more reason to get your half gallon a day. Grab some here.  

A New Generation of Activists  

As we walked Surritte to his car en route to a UN meeting, he said, "As people become aware, if it's not with us, go help with someone else. I speak with a lot of schools and this current generation gets it. Not throwing money at issues. Kids want to roll up their sleeves and they believe they can change the world. That's where it starts."