International Water Day

Thursday, 21 March 2013

International Water Day

Have you ever heard of water poverty? The lack of adequate sanitation and clean freshwater is one of the main factors which contributes to lack of universal socio-economic development and poverty reduction throughout our world. All life must have water.

This Friday, March 22, is International Water Day. It offers an occasion to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocacy for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, an issue near and dear to the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ American Province.

The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ’s commitment to the Earth Charter and Catholic Social Teaching is grounded in our core values and compels us to enter into the dialogue surrounding this important issue.

Flat Lake and Lake Gilbraith are part of the Flat Lake Watershed on the grounds of The Center at Donaldson. Both are productive lakes capable of supporting a healthy balanced eco-system as well as providing a wonderful resource for people to enjoy. How are we being good stewards and protectors of this vital resource?


Over 15 years ago, the PHJC Community created a plan to improve practices at the PHJC Ministry Center which would contribute to the health of Lake Gilbraith. Recent studies have indicated that this effort has paid off. Some of these major efforts include:

  • A new waste water treatment plant
  • Dry Wells for parking lots to allow rain water to drain in them and not the lake
  • Increased buffer between cattle pasture land and wetlands
  • Wetlands and wastewater/rain gardens for storm water were built around the new MoonTree facility
  • Containment of the shoreline to aid in issues of erosion on the lake

In 2003, the PHJCs joined and helped to sponsor the Flat Lake Watershed Group. This group was established with the intent to ensure that the goals of the Flat Lake Watershed Management Plan were implemented. One of their major projects is the evaluation of issues related to storm water drainage effects on Lake Galbraith and recommendations to correct these issues.

What can each of us do to help in the effort to preserve this precious gift of water? Below are just some simple suggestions.

  • Install a water-saving shower head
  • Check your toilet for leaks in the valves
  • Consider installing a high-efficiency toilet, which uses less water
  • Water plants with left-over rain water
  • Wash only full loads in dishwasher on “light wash” setting
  • Laundry: wash only full loads of clothing

The care and sharing of clean fresh water becomes more important with each passing year. With so many, mostly the poorest among us, without this gift of healthy, clean water, the cycle of poverty and death continue. The health and well being of all the creatures of the earth depend on healthy water.