Monday, August 6, 2012

Episode 122 (August 6, 2012): World Water Needs

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 6, 2012.

This week we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about ten seconds, and see if you can guess what’s making the squeaking sound.  And here’s a hint: You may not see many of these anymore in Virginia, but they can still work very well.


If you guessed a hand water pump, you’re right!   This one was recorded in 2010 at a camping site along the C&O Canal Towpath in Maryland, just across the Potomac River from Virginia.  While such pumps are no longer routinely seen at residences or in communities in the United States, hand-powered well pumps are one of many strategies being used to try to provide clean, reliable water to developing countries.  At least three-quarters of a billion people worldwide are estimated to lack access to clean drinking water, and this global challenge becomes ever more complicated with climate change and population growth.  The challenge is being tackled by governments, businesses, non-profit organizations, and many groups and individuals.  If you’re interested in this issue, some good sources of information are UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and the United Nation’s Food and Agricultural Organization.  And our online show notes this week list several Virginia efforts.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

[These notes were reviewed on 4-27-15 to check Web links and update some information.]

Acknowledgements: This episode’s water-pump sound and information were previously used in Episode 26 (week of 7-26-10).

Sources and More Information:  The 2012 report of the World Health Organization/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation estimated that in 2010 about 780 million people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water; a link to that report and to other sources of information on world water needs and responses is available at (as of 8/6/12).  Other information from the World Health Organization on water needs is available at  Information on World Water Day, held each March, is available at (as of 8/6/12)  Information about hand pumps and other technologies for providing water is available at many Web sites, such as the following (functional as of 4/27/15): Global Water, at; and Rural Water Supply Network, at

Here in Virginia, as of 2013, about 12,000 (0.04%) of the Commonwealth's 3.02 million occupied households were estimated to lack complete indoor plumbing facilities, according to the U.S. Census’ "2009-2013 5-Year American American Community Survey" (information for Virginia available online at, as of 4/27/15).

The following is a small sample of Virginia-based groups and projects seeking to improve water supplies in developing countries:
American Water Resources Association, Virginia Tech student chapter:;

Engineering Students Without Borders, University of Virginia student chapter:;

Engineers Without Borders, Virginia Tech student chapter:;

Engineers Without Borders, Hampton Roads professionals chapter:

Water and Health in Limpopo Province, South Africa Project at the University of Virginia:;

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.