The roots of humanity’s civilization, anywhere, involves building enough social capital to have the will and means to bring safe water to people. Water is actually the platform where we build the relationships that enable people to resolve problems, and this can go way beyond water.
Twenty years ago, I was in the Peace Corps in Honduras working on water systems, and one of the biggest lessons from that experience was the conviction that if a community could come together and build their own water system, they could do just about anything. When people in a village or small town can organize themselves to dig many miles of ditches and install pipelines, haul cement, sand and steal up steep hills to build infrastructure, and – hardest of all – get through all the conflicts that erupt about land and water rights, and a multitude of other big and petty issues, then anything else is easy. In the village I lived in, right after the water system was built, they came together and also fixed the school roof and the road.