Welcome to the WASH E-Club newsletter

Message from our President- Rob Overly

In this newsletter we hear from our President, Rob Overly and John Moriaty, our Foundation Chairman. We welcome new member Dr Tiffany Cone and hear from another. Read about the upcoming National Membership Conference coming up in October, and find out about the interest points in ‘News and Views’. Virginia Gardiner presents a very interesting talk on Loowatt toilet systems. Check out “What’s up in Leadership” at Rotary.

It has been a very busy month and I must say that I am extremely honored to be associated with such a fine group of individuals… and that means all of you!

Bruce Lindsey and his committee has been extremely busy working on potential projects that can engage the membership, more notably for Bruce is his hydrological database which he is expanding to include other elements. It appears that Neil Van Dine is going to be a valuable resource for Bruce in that there are a number of data points that Neil is already familiar with. I encourage anyone interested to contact Bruce.

One of Bruce’s subcommittees is Women in WASH. Those of you that have been following our Facebook page (thank-you Annette!) are aware that the eClub will have its first forum titled “Women in WASH” presided by Dr. Beatrice Chisenga. Hopefully, you have received your Evites and have sent back you RSVP. My hope is that the presentation will be archived on the club’s website. Speaking of Women in WASH, Jessica Murison is interested in forming a group for those interested in gender issues for WASH projects. From my experiences, I am quite well aware that women are the true stakeholders and not involving them in the decision making process seriously hampers the success of a project. I am sure that Jessica would welcome all those that are interested in being part of this group.

Many of you know that I am a major proponent of our members becoming actively involved, not only with the eClub of WASH but with the Rotary Clubs in your area or the ones that you come in contact with as you travel. One of my sincere hopes is that all of us become ambassadors for Rotary’s WASH efforts. Nancy Gilbert, Angela Tenbroeck, and Heidi Rickels have been tasked with developing a presentation that all of us can use when called upon to speak and I am hopeful that once this becomes available we will all take advantage of this opportunity.

As I mentioned at the outset, we have an incredible collection of talent and experience that all of us can draw upon as a resource. But, no one can possibly appreciate this unless we get to know one another. Steve Atkins has been busy formulating eMeals as a platform for each of us to engage with others in our club. The eMeal is analogous to sitting at a table with one’s peers at a tradition al Rotary meeting and is a good way for all of us to better get to know each other.

Have you planted your tree yet? I know from my conversations that Juan Carlos Villatorro has planted fruit trees at a local school as a means of teaching the students sustainable agricultural practices. Can I assume that Angela Tenbroeck has done the same? Festus Mensah mentioned to me in passing that he too was planning to plant a tree. All that is fine but it begs the question: “if a tree falls down in the forest and no one is there to hear it… does it make a sound?” Send in your photos and narratives! I am sure that Annette will be eager to post them on Facebook!

Yours in Rotary Service



Heidi Rickels, Co-Found or Freshwater Project International recommends we check out this water-aid

This water-aid research and training centre is hosted by Loughborough University (…..typically in the Top Ten amongst the 50 British universities ranked in their League tables). Their Publications/Events/Communications manager has interest in our feedback. As our eClub has offered energies for attracting more WASH-relevant talents into the WASH cause, this is, I think, a very reasonable site for us to engage with (….and maybe develop a formal relationship around training scholarships).

This month’s Guest Speakers

Kate Marvel is a scientist at Columbia University and the NASA Goddard Institute of Space studies. She uses computer models and satellite observations to monitor and explain the changes happening around us. Her work has suggested that human activities are already affecting global rainfall and cloud patterns. Marvel is committed to sharing the joy and beauty of science with wider audiences.

She has advised journalists, artists and policymakers, written a popular science blog and given frequent public talks. Her writing has appeared in Nautilus Magazine.

Climate change is real, case closed. But there’s still a lot we don’t understand about it, and the more we know the better chance we have to slow it down. One still-unknown factor: How might clouds play a part? There’s a small hope that they could buy us some time to fix things … or they could make global warming worse. Climate scientist Kate Marvel takes us through the science of clouds and what it might take for Earth to break its own fever.

Rotary WASH e-Club Weblog discussion starter: Should this newish debate influence Rotary International aid-planning around the brining-up of threatened coastal aquifers?

Julio Gil is an Industrial Engineering Manager in the Innovation and Advanced Technology Group at UPS Corporate. Gil has spent 15 years driving innovation and logistics improvements at UPS. He is always looking for the next great disruptive technology. As an engineering manager, he has pioneered new technologies for drones, 3D printing, the Internet of Things and wearables. As an inventor, he has developed four patents for drone technology and one for augmented reality applications for sorting processes. Gil holds a master’s in law from the University of Alcalá de Henares in Spain.

Will urbanization sustain? This speaker suggests we not believe predictions that say the future is trending towards city living. Urbanization is actually reaching the end of its cycle, says logistics expert Julio Gil, and soon more people will be choosing to live (and work) in the countryside, thanks to rapid advances in augmented reality, autonomous delivery, off-the-grid energy and other technologies. Think outside city walls and consider the advantages of country living with this forward-thinking talk.

Rotary WASH E-Club Weblog discussion starter: What will a reversal of trends towards urbanization mean for the world’s growing water-quality challenges?

News and Views

Sanitation is a problem everywhere. The basic action of using a toilet needs to be accessible to everyone so as to maintain health and dignity – no matter what socio-economic situation of circumstances the live in. And its not just a problem in the developing world! Read this story to find out what is happening just down the road from Disneyland.

Drinking water improving in India?

More than 80% of China’s water polluted? China’s underground water is taken from relatively shallow wells used by farms, factories and mostly rural households and is unsafe for drinking because of pollution, a government report says.


The Water & Sanitation Rotarian Action Group (WASRAG) was formed in 2007 by a group of Rotarians, recognized by Rotary International, and focused on WASH projects. Since then it has facilitated many hundreds of projects – helping clubs find partners, ensuring sustainability, stressing the importance of a needs-driven approach, and developing best practices. We encourage a holistic, integrated approach in which water is not the end in itself, but is rather the means to a better life and livelihood in the community. Most importantly WASRAG links water and sanitation to improved hygiene, better health, and empowerment of the community – especially women, irrigation and agriculture, education and literacy and, ultimately, child mortality.

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