Aug 05, 2014

California Students Travel to Mexico on Water Project

The high school students will travel to Central Mexico during Labor Day Week

H2OpenDoors High School Students Redwood City California Central Mexico

H2OpenDoors, a project of the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Foundation, based in Redwood City, Calif., will be taking an expedition of high school students and teachers to central Mexico during the week of Labor Day. According to Jon Kaufman, director of the project, four students and a teacher from Redwood High, and six students and a teacher from Woodside High will experience a soulful and inspiring journey, along with Rotarians and friends.

"The first three days will be spent in Ciudad Guzman in Jalisco state, where we will install a SunSpring water purification system at a community center in a very poor district of the city," Kaufman said. Ciudad Guzman is a sister city to Redwood City. More than 1,000 families, or about 4,000 people, receive water from the city water system that is highly chlorinated and not drinkable. This population center currently spends 10 pesos per liter on bottled water each day. "That is about 77 cents, or over $1 million per year, on bottled water. This astounding burden on the very poor will be alleviated with the SunSpring, which can purify over 20,000 liters per day from virtually any contaminated water source."

SunSprings are solar- and wind-powered water purification plants that require no electricity or fuel, and remove all bacteria, viruses and other contaminants using membrane technology. With a design life of more than 10 years, they require only one hour of downtime for simple maintenance procedures each month. Manufactured in Rocky Ford, Colo., by Innovative Water Technologies, the systems are up and running within three hours. H2OpenDoors installed systems in northern Thailand and Tacloban, the Philippines, in 2013, and will be bringing a unit to a large clinic in central Guatemala in December 2014.

Following the installation, the students will be given a tour of the city government, including the metropolitan water company facilities, which serve more than 110,000 residents. Jose Luis Orozco Aldana, the mayor of Cuidad Guzman, will serve as host for the expedition, and has directed a "water fiesta" to be held to celebrate the installation.

"The final three days in Mexico will be life-changing for the students when we travel over to Guanajuato state and Centro Fox, the international conference complex headed by former Mexican President Vicente Fox," Kaufman said. "Mr. Fox and his staff will conduct a two-day leadership conference for the students that will include 'President for a Day' exercises, national and global governmental workshops, and a visit to meet the state legislature at the capitol. There will also be some baseball in the mix."

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with California high school students in support of H2OpenDoors and Rotary," Fox said. "The world needs to grow global citizens, people of high character who care about the poorest among us."

Sponsors in support of the expedition include San Mateo Credit Union, Katharine Beckwith, and several Rotary clubs, including the Peninsula Sunrise Rotary in Redwood City.