Just Water in January to help transform lives with WaterAid

Katie Simmons, BI Developer in Yorkshire Water’s Information Services team, will be drinking Just Water for 2 weeks in January to raise money for WaterAid’s lifesaving work.

Katie will be helping improve access to clean water and sanitation for people in some of the world’s poorest countries, showing that while we are separated by cultures and kilometres, we are all made of the same stuff - water.

Katie said: "I thought it would be a good challenge to help me detox after the Christmas and New Year festivities and give me an incentive to cut down on the amount of tea I drink.

"A lot of people in the world aren't fortunate enough to access to the variety of drinks we do so drinking just water will be a reminder of how fortunate we are. To us, nice fresh, cold, clean water is taken for granted and a lot of people don't have it readily available, so I guess it might make me appreciate it more.

"I am quite partial to a glass of Pinot Grigio too, but I think the biggest challenge is going to be not being able to have my morning cuppa on a weekend and at the tea breaks throughout the day at work. I've only signed up for 14 days but if it's going ok I may try do a month!"

Helen Seacombe, Senior Fundraising Officer at WaterAid, said “Clean water to drink is such a basic human need that it breaks down the countries, cultures and kilometres between us.

“If you are strong enough to go a whole month without tea, coffee, any fizzy drinks and your favourite tipple, join Just Water with us and show us what you are made of. We will be with you every sip of the way as you help some of the 663 million people around the world who don’t have access to clean water.”

Katie's challenge to forego everything from after-work drinks to caffeinated beverages will help people in some of the world’s poorest communities, such as 21-year-old Esnart Phiri in Malawi, whose only water source is a muddy hole outside her village that is often contaminated.

Esnart, who is made not only of water, but courage, faith and hope for a better future for her son, said: “My day starts when I have to collect water. I go around 3am to get in line in case there is a queue. Sometimes the water stinks, and when we drink it, we complain of stomach ache. It’s hard for me to give my child the water after seeing how he suffers from diarrhoea. I don’t want to give him the water but he needs water to survive. For my family to have access to safe and clean water would mean a lot because we would live a healthy and happy life. I would grow some vegetables, which I would then be able to sell.”

Esnart’s village will receive clean water and toilets this winter as part of WaterAid’s ‘Made of the Same Stuff’ appeal, and supporters can follow the progress in her community and see the immense difference their money is making.

Visit the WaterAid website to find tips and resources to drink Just Water this January, or if you would like to sponsor Katie, you can do so on her JustGiving page.