Three Oklahomans joined two renowned water experts Tuesday at the Creativity World Forum to talk about how to water the world.
They focused on how creativity is being used to solve water crises in Africa and developing countries.
An Oklahoma Christian University student, Ryan Groves, told of how he's brought water to those who didn't previously have it through a student organization he started called Wishing Well Foundation.
â€œIn the next 10 or 20 years, all of us need to be thinking about what, or really, where we're going to be getting our water,â€ Groves said. â€œWe are lucky to have an infrastructure of brilliant, creative people who are coming up with ways to solve this problem.â€
Ken Surritte, of Edmond, started the nonprofit WATERisLIFE, which is now working in 31 countries to distribute water filters and other water equipment in times of water crises.
A worldwide water crisis was the topic of a performance to open the forum by four Oklahomans. An operatic singer, a slam poet and two painters used their creative talents to explain why â€œsomething doesn't add upâ€ when it comes to the vast amounts of quality water used in the U.S. compared to other parts of the world where water is often contaminated, if even available at all.
The performance hit close to home for a forum attendee from Ghana.
â€œThe stuff I used to drink, if I drank the same water now, I would be in the E.R.,â€ the emotional Ghanan man said.
WATERisLIFE's main mission is to provide filters to children to use during water crises so they don't drink bad water.
Surritte said African children often miss school because they get sick from the water they drink.
Harvard University professor David Edwards spoke about The Pumpkin Project, which developed a device called The Pumpkin that hangs from someone's shoulder and carries and filters water at the same time. It is being used in Africa.
The Pumpkin Project is headed up by students, including some in Oklahoma City, Edwards said.
David Waggonner, lead architect for Rebuild New Orleans, showed renderings of how water could be better used in New Orleans, which has one of the worst water systems in the United States.
The renderings showed water running through canals across the city, much like Venice, Italy.
â€œWhat we're enabling here is life itself,â€ Waggonner said.
Other speakers were Laura Brunson, a University of Oklahoma doctorate student who is experimenting with sustainable ways to remove contaminants from water, and Chris Cotner, an Edmond man who has a nonprofit, Water 4 Foundation, helping developing nations with cost-effective water projects.