Drilling for water and life

Richard Greenly, Water4 & PumpsOK

In the developing world there are a billion people who don’t have access to water. A child dies every 22 seconds of starvation, malnutrition and thirst. Each day, 5,000 children die because they do not have access to clean drinking water. Furthering the problem, well-drilling rigs can’t get into these remote areas and even if they could, it would cost the village $10,000 to 15,000 to drill just one well.

In 2008, I headed out to Sierra Leone with a hardworking team of men from Pumps of Oklahoma to install a well using a manual drill. On my team’s first trip, we drilled down to 150 feet and found pristine clean drinking water. We encased it, installed a solar pump, put in some storage tanks for running water and installed some solar panels. I hit the button to start the solar pump, and nothing. No lights, nothing. I tried to troubleshoot the system but couldn’t figure out the problem.

I spent the rest of the night distressed over what the issue might be. When the sun started to rise I went back out to the pump and tried to fix it again. I’m a praying man, so I ask for God’s help and as soon as I finished the prayer, the pump began to work. This was the first time in Sierra Leone’s history that a well was manually drilled and a solar pump was successfully installed. It was a momentous time for the village and for the country. Since then, the children of this village haven’t been dying and families have been able to grow gardens and get nutrition.

At the time we weren’t an organization. We were just a group of hard working guys who wanted to help get water to remote villages. But, the word spread about what we had done in Sierra Leone and people wanted to donate money to the cause.

As a result, we started a 501c non-profit and named it Water4. We established our mission statement which is to eradicate the world’s water crisis. At the beginning, we said “yes” to every project. We also hired an executive director who was guaranteed an annual budget of $80,000 for two years. This included his travel, his office, salary, assistants, supplies, etc. He had to raise the additional money to try and make this thing happen.

But we had vision! Our mission was huge, but we knew that there was more to life than just business as usual. We wanted to make a mark on the world that extended beyond our own lifetime. And you can do that too! Find something you’re passionate about. What are you already spending your time on? See how you can use that interest to impact the lives of others in a positive way.

Please visit the Water4 website to learn more about our non-profit and how you can support our mission.

Leave a Comment