waterstep, Author at WaterStep

Meet Pat Mulroy

If you would like to hear Pat Mulroy speak in person, don’t miss IF Water 2014. The 3rd Annual IF Water Conference will be held on Tuesday, September 30th at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Tickets can be purchased through the Kentucky Center. Read about other IF Water speakers Fabien Cousteau and Rose George.

Pat MulroyPat Mulroy started out as an individual studying German Literature and ended up as the General Manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority. Pat describes her background as helpful, allowing her to look at the issue of water in a different way.

“Not from a legal perspective, tying to protect laws. Not from an engineering perspective, with the belief that you can build your way out of any problem. Not even from a scientific perspective, where the answer to everything lies in science. Yes many of the solutions are embedded in mosaic pieces that come from those various disciplines.”

But, Pat explains, we have made the solutions much too difficult. At the end of the day it’s about our attitude, and how we talk about water.

Pat Mulroy served as general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) from 1993 until retiring in February 2014. She also served as the general manager of the Las Vegas Valley Water District from 1989 until her retirement. Mulroy was a principal architect of the Authority, which allowed Southern Nevada to not only weather the stresses of growth, but also one of the worst droughts to befall the Colorado River.

Pat’s talk will draw from her experience in the Water Authority, as well as her bountiful community involvement.

Pat giving the opening statements at the United Nations International Water Forum in 2011:

If you would like to hear Pat speak in person, don’t miss IF Water 2014. The 3rd Annual IF Water Conference will be held on Tuesday, September 30th as part of the IdeaFestival® at the Kentucky International Convention Center.

Purchase tickets.

A Day in Tiribi: Stories from the Field


El Dique


The WaterStep team sat in Iglesia Celebracion on an early Friday morning in Tiribi, Costa Rica. The team arrived, prepared to set up the system that would provide up to 10,000 gallons of safe water a day

Pastor Miguel welcomed the group with a brief sermon and prayer. He informed them that Tiribi is located in the county ranked last out of all 81 counties in Costa Rica for development, meaning poverty, drugs and prostitution are common in the area.

The pastor began his ministry to be a church for the unchurched. “Churches are popular here, but these people are not welcome in most churches,” he said.


Pastor Miguel led the team down a nearby road to see more of the area that would be affected by a safe water system in the church. As they walked, the pastor was met by warm greetings from most neighbors and a big hug from a young girl.

El Dique 1


Most homes were built from scrap materials and garbage lined the streets. However, what seemed like a hopeless image from the outside masked well-kept kitchens, straight and clean living areas, and a people who took pride in their homes and lives.

98 year old Claudia greeted the team outside of her home, which shares a wall with her sister and a young girl that they care for, who suffers from seizures. The team took turns gathering around to pray for the family and talk more with them.


Back at the church, the team got to work on their project that would carry over to the next day, installing the M-100 Chlorine Generator.

Pastor Miguel stepped away from the group while they began working to explain more about the culture and water issues in the area. “They have a local waterline, but the government cuts off water and they must use dirty river water and boil it to drink it,” he explained. “Many children and elderly still get sick with diarrhea, stomach ache, and viruses.”

The effects from the lack of water spill over into all areas of life. He explained that sickness often keeps children out of school, as a stomach virus can force a child to stay in bed for up to a week. The WaterStep system will allow children and families to get safe, drinkable water from the church, preventing illness.

On Day Two of the installation, the WaterStep team arrived bright and early, working all day to set up the system and teach the pastor about its maintenance. By evening, the mission was accomplished.

Access to safe water is only one issue that needs to be addressed in many of the communities where Waterstep works, but it is a critical foundation for improvement. To learn more about safe water solutions and how to get involved, check out our Why Water page.

Costa Rica group


Stories from the Field: Tanzania Medical Trip

by Erin Asher

WaterStep’s Director of Manufacturing Dr. Joe Jacobi, teamed up with WaterStep Medical Director Dr. Bill Smock and Foxes’ NGO to travel to Tanzania with 13 medical students from the University of Louisville to provide medical and dental services to the citizens of the Mufindi region of the country.

Tanzania 1

While there, Dr. Jacobi was able to offer health education and safe water options to address the root causes of medical issues.

Tanzania is currently the 13th poorest country in the world and the evidence of this claim was widespread as Dr. Jacobi and the rest of the team arrived in country. Igoda Children’s Village, the local host and home to Dr. Jacobi and the rest of the medical team, was about 90 miles from the nearest paved road and most citizens were sustenance farmers. Dr. Jacobi noted that there was “a lack of education of a wide variety of health issues” in Mufindi after conducting dental clinics from last month from July 12th to 20th.

tanzania joe 2Most citizens boil their water to ensure the removal of dangerous pathogens and bacteria—a time consuming method. Not only does boiling water take time, but also requires labor for the continual collection of firewood. Open fires are a common method for cooking in Tanzania, and Dr. Jacobi and the team saw the result of the dangers this method offers with a variety of burn victims serviced in the clinics.

A lack of health education coupled with working with open fires results in many burn victims being treated incorrectly or not treated at all. Dr. Jacobi told the story of one man who had almost been paralyzed by burns at both his knees due to incorrect treatment of the burns. Countless similar situations were seen just within the clinics, and Dr. Jacobi agreed that basic health and sanitation education would improve circumstances exponentially.

Local children play with the WaterBall donated to the village.

Local children play with the WaterBall donated to the village.

As it was time to pack up and leave, Dr. Jacobi and Dr. Smock along with the medical students felt that while they had serviced many individuals for the better, there is still much work within the country in medical services and with water. Dr. Jacobi left Mufindi with two chlorinators and two WaterBalls. The technology, paired with simple health and hygiene education will lead to healthier, longer lives.

tanzania joe

Meet Rose George

A trip to a public bathroom stall several years ago inspired journalist Rose George to think outside of the box.“I asked myself the question: Where does this stuff go?” George remembers. “With  this question, I found myself plunged into the world of sanitation, toilets and poop. And I have yet to emerge.”Rose George

As the author of The Big Necessity, Rose George brings a global perspective to sanitation practices and behaviors on a world-wide basis. Her book describes the cultural, bacteriological and psychological landscape of this rarely explored topic, citing examples from London to Johannesburg to Mumbai to Moscow.

Rose’s talk will draw from her experiences and observations, and will key the audience in on just how important toilet practices and sanitation are around the world.

If you would like to hear Rose speak in person, be sure to buy your tickets for IF Water 2014. The 3rd Annual IF Water Conference will be held on Tuesday, September 30th in conjunction with IdeaFestival® at the Kentucky International Convention Center. Read more.

Purchase tickets.

Check out Rose’s TED Talk from last year.

Community Shoe Drive in Peoria

When communities come together to collect shoes, they support water projects around the world. That is exactly what one Peoria community did.

Peoria Shoes

When accountant Denise Henderson from Peoria, IL saw the impact that her church made through a shoe drive, she decided she could multiply their efforts by starting even more shoe drives in the area. Henderson works for the Iona Group and alongside other motivated coworkers,  they contacted local businesses, churches, and organizations to host shoe drop-sites.

The Iona Group has been extremely successful, collecting 11,000 shoes in 2012, and over 15,000 in 2013. The Peoria community’s efforts will provide safe water to more people across the globe.

Starting August 1st, the Iona Group’s third shoe drive will begin with 45 drop-sites around the Peoria and Morton areas.

Iona Group Photo

“As a community, Peoria has done a fantastic job in collecting shoes, probably more so than any other community that we work with,” said Water Step Chief Operating Officer Greg Holt. “And we’re in several different states collecting shoes.”

The next shoe drive will kick off on August 1st. Check out more info in this article form Central Illinois Proud or this article from the Journal Star.

You can call Denise at 309-263-4662 to get involved.