Taking water to the world

ORIGINALLY from Edinburgh, Niall Inverarity knows a thing or two about water—in Scotland it’s either falling from the sky or in a whisky.

So it is fitting he works as a hydro-geologist.

Recently the 30-year-old from Highgate wanted to do something more rewarding, so he quit his lucrative day job and now helps the Red Cross get clean water to remote villages across Asia and the Pacific.

According to a UN Water study, every 20 seconds a child dies as a result of poor sanitation (around 1.5 million preventable deaths each year).

Over the past six months Inverarity has worked in Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, PNG, Timor Leste and Nepal.

His most memorable trip involved taking several flights to reach Kathmandu and then an eight-hour car journey across makeshift roads to the remote district of Sindhuli in Nepal.

• Niall Inverarity inspects new clean water taps in rural Timor Leste. Photo supplied | Jay Matta/IFRC

• Niall Inverarity inspects new clean water taps in rural Timor Leste. Photo supplied | Jay Matta/IFRC

Once there he used his expertise to select a location for a well, which will save locals from walking kilometres to the nearest river for drinking water.

“There were around 1000 people living in six remote villages across the district,” he says.

“We enabled them to get access to piped drinking water at a central collection points. It means they only have to walk for minutes instead of hours to get clean water.

“It was really rewarding to use my skills and give something back to these remote communities.”

Inverarity also helped locals in South-East Asia prepare for major disasters by making sure they have water purification equipment and emergency procedures in place.

Around one in 10 people worldwide—some 768 million—do not have access to enough safe water according to a UNICEF report.

Some 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic toilet or sanitation facilities.

by STEPHEN POLLOCK

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