September 2003: Volume 45, Number 9
Around the World in Three Sites: Sharing the Gift of Water
by Ronald Y. Pérez, WC&P Managing Editor
A World of Water
I like calling this the babbling brook site as such sounds emanate fromt he computer's speakers when you're connected to this URL. Also, the photo images are so good I've nominated a couple for our publication's cover. As for the content, the case study breakdown is accessed easily and the amount of test isn't intimidating...
I was skeptical of this site when viewing the home page, but I became a convert once I perused the main buttons. As a major positive, it shares an inside look at what goes into planning a water supply project in an underdeveloped country...
Speaking of interactivity, this site encourages you to include your site linke and any event you would like to see added. There's almost too much information here, but the report/document components can't be underscored enough. Perhaps the most "international" of the sites here, with multilingual options...
For a more detailed review, please read on.
Always on the lookout for new and interesting worldwide websites, I turned to my favorite search engines and looked for some groups supplying the precious resource of clean drinking water across the globe. (On a related note, some of this column’s most ardent readers represent international water websites. Thank you.) So, I came across one major website that led me to the following reviewed sites. I invite you, nevertheless, to visit the major site and seek some other links in your free time (see EXTRA: Getting the 411 on Freshwater).
From Carlsbad, Calif., ClearWater Project is a humanitarian organization working to improve the quality of life for millions of people by providing safe drinking water. This effort is promoted through cooperation with communities and governments to protect clean water supplies; developing education and awareness programs to teach people about their water problems and how to solve them, and building alliances with other organizations looking to improve global water health.
The above information can be obtained at the About Us button--one of the six main buttons atop the home page. Water Facts and Solutions, ClearWater Communities, Take Action, Donate, and Activities are the others. Under Water Facts and Solutions, you’ll find descriptions of some of the technologies ClearWater uses to deliver potable water around the world. They include gravity flow water delivery, UV purification, solar-powered water pump, cogeneration of hyrdoelectric power, and something called “roundabout outdoor.” Need to know more? A description is given of each in a separate pop-up window. Under “Educational Materials,” the U.S. Geological Survey enjoys more than one reference. Nice photomontages are found under ClearWater Communities where virtual tours and information exist for Mexico, Honduras, India, Tanzania, Tibet and Bangladesh.
One point that could be easily overlooked when viewing this site is the fact that scroll bars are kept to a minimum. Instead, two arrows (up and down) are sprinkled throughout the site. Run the mouse over either and it automatically scrolls for you. Perhaps not a big deal to many, but it makes navigation much easier. If your speakers are live, you’ll also hear sounds of a babbling brook, birds and waves crashing on the shore while browsing.
With “Clean Water is the Gift of Life” as its introductory tagline, Global Water’s home page offers lots of text and several photos. Key buttons include Global Water, Who We Are, Our Approach, Project List, Planned Projects, Press Releases, How You Can Help, Links to Other Sites, Contact Us and Acknowledgments.
In Our Approach, eight steps are outlined on Arlington, Va.-based Global Water’s water supply program. Each step is described in detail. They include: acquire the correct equipment; develop a communication system; train volunteers, and provide training to local villagers.
Project List gives visitors a global view of where the organization concentrates its efforts. Stars on a world map allow you to point and click on countries in which Global Water has projects: Bolivia, Brazil, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Peru, Romania, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Zaire and Zimbabwe. Still, another home page button, Progress Report 2002, provides details only on projects in Guatemala and Honduras. These and other countries are listed in Planned Projects. Links to Other Sites is a slight disappointment as only two links pop up--Global Hydrology and Climate Center, and www.watermagazine.com
Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) is the provider of Water Observatory, and its home page is chock full of news releases, water-related events and world water treaties. If you can get beyond that, you might notice the main buttons atop the home page--Headlines, Document Center, Event Calendar, Organizations, Related Sites and News Bulletins.
In Headlines, press releases are listed with the most recent first. Frequency runs about two a week, which isn’t overly impressive; each news item is rather extensive, so that compensates nicely. A more pleasant surprise, Document Center is for those looking for reports, case studies, or articles on particular water topics. Furthermore, titles, a brief description, author, when the entry was posted, and the file type--Word (.doc), Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) and HTML-based files--is given for each document. If that weren’t enough, you can also break documents down by topic and language (French, German, Spanish and English are offered). Some of the more notable subjects include arsenic, drinking water, water quality and water quantity.
Showing a discerning international edge, Event Calendar lists conferences for the following four months from locales such as Sweden, Netherlands, Bahamas, Italy and India. Organizations splits the United States into seven regions and asks you to click on any one of these for more information. Curious, I click on the West Coast. I get International Rivers Network and River Network, and they both come with their own links; however, four regions had no organizations listed at all.
In lieu of a links page, Water Observatory uses a Related Sites button, which asks you to add your link to its site. It would not allow me to do so on two separate occasions. Categories of your business or organization are broken down for easier searching. The four most applicable for us would probably be drinking water, arsenic, educational, and online services. Just to use one as an example, drinking water contains such links as American Water Works Association, Global Water Partnership and Water Forum. News Bulletins is an outlet for IATP’s two publications--Watershed Currents and Community Forestry Connections. Lastly, What’s New mirrors the functions of Headlines.
As illustrated here, many websites exist in the vast space we call the Internet, and some of these are doing good deeds. Readers might be surprised what can be done via water treatment companies by way of donations, time and monies. Maybe one of these sites offers an opportunity that piques your interest enough to find out more.
EXTRA: Getting the 411 on Freshwater
At www.worldwater.org, a colossal amount of information is provided on freshwater. If it weren’t for our limited amount of space, a review of this site alone could fill several pages. Your two main functions here will be the search box as well as Water Links.
Feedback: Web Watch
Do you know of a water-related website that would be of interest to our readers--and that we haven’t reviewed in Website of the Month? WC&P invites readers to submit suggestions to Ron Pérez, managing editor, at (520) 323-6144 or email: ryperez@wcponline. com