Waiakea Water from Hawaii: Helping to End Thirst in Africa

These days, the average grocery store in the U.S. offers dozens of brands of bottled water. In the developed world, people worry less about finding clean water and more about which brand is right for them. Needless to say, those who lack access to safe water can't afford to be picky. A relative newcomer to the bottled water scene, Waiakea Water, appeals to health-conscious folks with its unique mineral composition and pH balance. At the same time, for every liter that is sold, the company donates one week's worth of water to needy areas in Africa and around the world. In particular, the Waiakea Water initiative helps residents of Malawi, but its impact is felt around the world.

At first glance, Waiakea Water may look like yet another generic entry into the already jam-packed field of bottled water. Unlike so many brands, however, Waiakea Water boasts legitimate, unique benefits that deliver exciting health benefits and other advantages to those who consume it. Siphoned through thousands of feet of porous lava rock within Mauna Loa, the famous Hawaiian volcano, Waiakea Water boasts a pH level and mineral composition that make it a major standout in many ways. Loaded with the optimal amount of silica, its health benefits are only just starting to be realized.

Ryan Emmons, the founder of Waiakea Water, could easily have rested on his laurels secure in the knowledge that he was bringing truly incredible water to people who are particularly concerned about their health. However, having grown up in Hawaii and California, Emmons knew how fortunate he was compared with many people in the world. Here in the U.S., people have the luxury of being choosy about the water that they drink; in many parts of the world, people live their entire lives without reliable access to safe, clean drinking water.

Rather than be content with raising awareness about the issue, Emmons decided to give back. Right away, Waiakea Water was a huge hit. Thanks to the unique properties of this water, the company was featured extensively in the media. This gave the brand the opportunity to do something positive with its exposure. After considering different charitable organizations to support, Waiakea Water partnered with Pump Aid, a non-profit organization whose primary goal is to install water pumps in isolated, rural areas of Africa where local residents live without clean, safe water on a daily basis.

While Pump Aid is equipped to install its Elephant Pumps anywhere in the world where they are needed, the organization currently focuses on Malawi. Located in southeast Africa, this landlocked country of around 16.8 million is among the least developed in the world. Approximately 85 percent of residents live in isolated rural areas. Life expectancy is low, and infant mortality is high. Much of this has to do with the fact that Malawi has very poor infrastructure, and people here struggle to have access to clean water and basic sanitation services. Water-related problems like dehydration and illness are an all too common reality for those who live here.

To support the work that Pump Aid does in Malawi, Waiakea Water now donates one week of clean water for every one liter that is sold. This support helps Pump Aid to continue its important work. Already, the organization has built and installed more than 4,200 of its incredible Elephant Pumps in villages around Malawi. Thanks to their work, more than 1.35 million people now have access to basic sanitation and clean water. It has been estimated that more than 487,000 people use pumps that have been installed by Pump Aid every single day. To say that the non-profit is making a mark would be an understatement.

Pump Aid doesn't stop with simply installing water pumps in African villages. The organization is all about sustainability too, so volunteers include local residents on the process so that they know how to build and install these pumps themselves. The pumps are based on a 3,000-year-old Chinese design. Pump Aid provides the know-how and volunteers, and materials are gathered from the local area. Volunteers and locals then dig the well and build the body of the pump. From there, the interior is assembled, and the pump is put into action.

The benefits that arise from the installation of these water pumps in Malawi can't be emphasized enough. Most obviously, of course, locals now have access to safe, clean drinking water. This means far fewer deaths from thirst and disease. There are many other advantages too. For instance, women and girls disproportionately are tasked with fetching water in these communities, so much of their productivity is focused on that. With pumps installed, these women and girls can turn their attention elsewhere, providing more stability to the community in general and, in many cases, finding alternative ways to improve their lives.

It is refreshing to hear about a brand of bottled water whose sales help to promote the spread of clean, safe drinking water in developing countries around the world. Incredibly, it is estimated that around 650 million people lack access to clean water; this is equivalent to twice the population of the U.S. At least 2.3 billion people around the world lack access to basic sanitation. Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related illness. Poor sanitation and dirty water are the leading cause of death in children age 5 and under in this part of the world.

In addition to providing amazing benefits for people who lack access to clean water, Waiakea Water has considerable benefits for those who consume it. The aquifer from which this water is bottled is located at Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Because it passed through thousands of feet of porous lava rock, it is naturally loaded with electrolytes like potassium, calcium, sodium and magnesium. This incredible water contains around 30 mg of silica, which is considered to be an optimal amount. Studies have even shown that silica consumption may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Another noteworthy thing about Waiakea Water is that it has a pH of between 7.8 and 8.8, which gives it the perfect amount of alkalinity. It is also packaged sustainably in a facility that relies on 33 percent renewable energy for manufacturing. Waiakea Water is one of the first in the world to be rated CarbonNeutral as well, which makes it even more of a standout. On top of all of that, the water is delightful to drink, featuring a silky, smooth mouthfeel and a truly refreshing quality. With benefits for those who buy it and for those who need access to clean water, Waiakea Water is hard to beat.

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