Imagine reading a book that influenced you so much, you quit your job to devote your life to serving others. That is what happened to David Plaue, five year resident of Newtown, and previously an ad salesman for the construction bible, The Blue Book.
Giving back to the world was nothing new to Plaue and his wife Gina, (whose maiden name was Mazzariello) who sponsor two children.
But when Plaue read a book, “The Hole In Our Gospel” by World Vision President Richard Stearns, he knew he had to make big changes in his life. “The book is about how people go to church and put money in the basket, but that we could do so much more than that.”
“It was a life changing book,” Plaue said. “We put out these containers in restaurants and people were encouraged to put a dollar into the jug for the water they had been lucky enough to drink for free. I called it the Drink Water to Give Water project.”
Over 20 restaurants and businesses participated, but Figs and Mexicali Rose did particularly well. Both of those restaurants raised about $400.
Minerva Hidalgo, the owner of Mexicali Rose, said that the project had meaning for her and her children. She explained that when she was growing up in the village of Zimatlan Oaxaca, Mexico, they had many water problems. The family had to walk at least a mile to bring water back in buckets.
“There was a fountain there, but there was never a lot of water coming out of it. We always used to wonder where the water came from.” Laughing, she said, “That it served everyone was like a miracle.”
Before Hidalgo left that town, the family was able to get their own well. “That is why we cared so much about this project,” she said. “You never know what you have until you lose it...or you never had it.”
With the help of the restaurants, and a number of other private donations, Plaue raised almost $7,000. He was so excited, he decided to get involved full time. With the support of his wife, Plaue got a job with a small non-profit human rights organization called DIGDEEP Water, which he explained “defends the human right to water for all people as a basic human dignity.”
“DIGDEEP plans and finances water access projects, like wells, and does education and awareness campaigns that protect water rights by changing the way people think about water,” Plaue said.
Plaue said that the organization provides water for the under-served all over the world, including the US, “Now that the dry season is here our first slate of seven wells are being dug in South Sudan, as we speak. We got our first project report back this week and 1,038 individuals were served with a single project.”
According to Plaue, DIGDEEP is also planning water projects on the nation's largest American Indian Reservation in New Mexico. “There are 54,000 Navajo people, right here in America, who do not have access to running water. They live on about 100 gallons every two weeks on that reservation.”
Statistics culled by Plaue from the “Hometown Publishing Newtown Phone Book”, “World Vision” and “Charity: Water,” show that the majority of Americans use close to 140-170 gallons of water on a daily basis.
Those statistics state:
A leaky faucet can waste 100 gallons a day.
An average bath requires 37 gallons of water.
An average family of four uses 881 gallons of water per week just by flushing the toilet.
The average five minute shower takes 15-25 gallons of water--around 40 gallons are used in 10 minutes.
The average bath uses 35 gallons of water
It takes 39,000 gallons to manufacture a car
It takes 10 gallons of water to refine one gallon of gasoline
A garden hose uses 15 gallons of water a minute.
It takes 27 gallons of water to run the average dish washer
The average toilet uses 5 to 7 gallons of water to flush.
The average car wash uses about 30 gallons of water per car
Plaue’s new title with DIGDEEP is Inspiration Officer. He has set a goal to inspire 100 people or groups over the course of the next year, and is hoping to attract high school and college students. “They can do really important work while putting something really meaningful on their resume,” he said. “We are looking for good people who appreciate the opportunities we all have been given, simply by living in this country.”
“This may be a truly significant, life-changing opportunity for any individual,” Plaue said.
The typical woman or child who must walk for water, walks three miles. The Walk For Water will have walkers re-enact that. The first loop is without carrying anything. The next mile and a half is carrying four liters of water to experience what people go through,” Plaue said.
To learn more about the organization, visit the www.digdeepwater.org/legacy
The site will be relaunched with additional information on August 1.