Contamination and disease are among the biggest health issues caused by lack of clean water. To help combat this challenge, VBT is pleased to announce our holiday gift to Wine to Water—an international organization that provides access to clean drinking water and emergency supplies in places they’re needed most.
Water Makes the World Go Round
Posted on Thursday, December 22nd, 2022
Story by: Molly Waldstein | Travel Writer
In many parts of the United States, we tend to take clean water for granted. Turn on the taps and it’s there—for drinking, washing, cooking—you name it. But ask anyone who lives in a region impacted by drought or contamination, and they’ll tell you—lack of access to clean, safe water causes BIG problems. “Access to clean drinking water is one of the world’s largest current health crises,” says Matt Thompson, Marketing Director and VBT Sustainability Committee member. “Water-borne illnesses are one of the leading causes of mortality for children worldwide. On a global scale, the percentage of people who have access to clean water is shockingly low.”
Contamination and disease are among the biggest health issues caused by lack of clean water. Drinking contaminated water can lead to giardia, dysentery, and cholera—and these maladies cause widespread problems in communities they affect. Lack of clean water also presents sanitation challenges—a particularly acute issue in rural health care centers and mobile surgical units where good hygiene is an essential component of positive health outcomes.
Giving the Gift of Clean Water
To help combat this vital (and often overlooked) issue, VBT is pleased to announce our holiday gift to Wine to Water—an international organization that provides access to clean drinking water and emergency supplies in places they’re needed most. Wine to Water works to educate people in water-challenged regions about sanitation best practices and water filter build techniques. Their Water4Schools program provides education and training for young people—increasing awareness of sanitation and clean water management strategies to build a strong future for local communities.
Environmental Sustainability at VBT
Here at VBT, environmental sustainability is one of our core values. In our main office in Williston, Vermont, our team of dedicated Sustainability Committee members works hard to develop innovative ideas to improve environmental sustainability—both on tour, at home, and around the world. Every VBT booking contributes a small amount to a fund supporting environmental sustainability efforts. “It’s a great program,” says Matt. “Our local leaders get involved as well—bringing forward ideas to help support their communities.” For example, VBT supports the Roaring Fork River Outdoor Volunteers (RFOV) in western Colorado, where a spectacular river valley has been carved out over millennia. The RFOV acts as stewards of this pristine public land, working with individuals and almost 100 institutional, non-profit, and business organizations to support sustainable recreation and the healthy landscapes that you’ll cycle through during VBT’s Colorado: Aspen to Vail, Valleys of the Rockies Guided Tour. In 2021 alone, across 64 project sites, RFOV rebuilt 74 miles of trails, restored 20 acres of degraded landscape, and inspired some 700 students with its Young Stewards Program.
In addition to regional sustainability, VBT also contributes to global sustainability initiatives. In 2017, Wine to Water Founder and President Doc Hendley was a guest speaker at a VBT event, planting the seed for future collaboration. “Wine to Water is doing great work around the world, and they have good alignment with VBT values,” says Matt. “In addition to local community support, we wanted to do something on a global scale where our contributions would make the most impact.” The ongoing collaboration between VBT and Wine to Water has supported efforts in Ukraine, Nepal, and other regions experiencing scarcity of clean water and sanitation resources.
Promoting Healthy Communities Through Access to Clean Water
With VBT’s support, Wine to Water’s current initiative in Ichhya Kamana, Nepal works to deliver clean water access to seven extremely remote communities. In Ichhya Kamana, 679 households are deprived of basic water and sanitation facilities. Ichhya’s severe topography along the ridges of the Mahabharat mountain range down to the Trishuli River Basin makes accessing clean water a difficult, time-consuming journey. The majority of the population are Chepang—an indigenous Tibeto-Burman ethnic group, often called the poorest of Nepal’s poor. In these villages, 226 houses will each receive one clean water tap—impacting 1,153 lives by decreasing water-borne illnesses. This will have the added impact of increasing school attendance, particularly for girls, as absenteeism from water-borne illnesses decreases and girls no longer spend time carrying water long distances.
We’re excited to support this important work—and would like to thank everyone who made it possible. Warm wishes for a safe and healthy New Year to one and all!