IF Water Fest pours into downtown Louisville - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

IF Water Fest pours into downtown Louisville

Mark Hogg Mark Hogg
Kurtis Daniels Kurtis Daniels
Garrison Cox Garrison Cox

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One day before the official start of Louisville's Idea Festival, the IF Water Conference drew hundreds of people downtown.

Put on by WaterStep, a Louisville-based nonprofit, the conference challenged ordinary people to brainstorm ways to provide safe, sustainable water and hygiene solutions to all people throughout the world.

"We're spoiled to death here in Louisville, Kentucky," said Mark Hogg, WaterStep CEO, to a room of more than 300 guests at the Muhammad Ali Center Tuesday. "This is a great place, but {worldwide} we're not seeing that."

Comprised of a group of passionate locals, members of WaterStep work to not only educate the public on what they call a world water crisis, but also actively do something about it.

"25,000 people on this planet, every single day, die from waterborne disease," said Kurtis Daniels, WaterStep director of training and field operations. "We can go through a chlorination process using our M100 chlorine generator."

Daniels gave up his plumbing contracting business to help WaterStep fulltime. He helps design purification pumps capable of cleaning up to 10,000 gallons of water per day using basic items like a twelve volt battery and a handful of salt to generate cleansing chlorine gas.

"I've always been a passionate person," explained Daniels. "I don't think people should suffer, and everybody has the right to drink safe water."

However, that right is often complicated by a widespread lack of knowledge and even greater scarcity of viable water.

"We're able to use only a small fraction of one percent of all the water on the planet for drinking," said Garrison Cox, WaterStep corporate secretary. "We're not tending it very well. We're polluting it. We're wasting it."

While members of WaterStep have developed technology to help aid their efforts, organizers maintained taking part in Idea Fest is necessary because more innovation is needed to further combat the world water crisis.

"Anybody can do something," said Cox.

"People are dying out there in the world from waterborne disease and {the public} can be a part of making something different happen," said Daniels.

Throughout the daylong conference, participants listened to a variety of guest speakers, including U.S. Representative John Yarmuth (D-KY 3rd) and representatives from GE and Ford Motor Company. Attendees also took part in hands on exhibits as well as brain storming and question-and-answer sessions.

Did You Know:

  • 780 million people lack access to clean water (more than 2 times  the population of the U.S.)
  • An American taking a 5 minute shower uses more water than the average person in a slum uses for an entire day
  • 80% of all disease in the world is caused by contaminated water
  • Every 30 seconds a child dies from a waterborne illness
  • 84% of water related deaths are in children ages 0-14
  • The top waterborne killer is diarrhea
  • Diarrhea remains the second leading cause of death among small children globally
  • 80% of child deaths due to diarrhea occur in Africa and South Asia
  • 15 countries account for almost 3/4 of deaths from diarrhea among children under the age of 5

During the conference, representatives for the Muhammad Ali Center announced a partnership with WaterStep, offering to donate $1 from every Generation Ali bracelet sold from the center's gift shops to the organization.

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