Samaritan's Purse asks Canadians to "Turn on the Tap" to provide safe drinking water in the developing world

    Fight is against contaminated water and diarrhoeal diseases that kill a
    child every 20 seconds

    CALGARY, April 25 /CNW/ - Samaritan's Purse Canada today launched its
national "Turn on the Tap" initiative to enlist households in Canada to donate
BioSand Water Filters to households in the developing world. Samaritan's Purse
has built and installed more than 70,000 of the life-saving filters in the
past 10 years, and they have proven to be so effective that Samaritan's Purse
is seeking Canadians' financial support to dramatically accelerate its filter
program by building and installing another 65,000 during the next three years.
    "These filters, which were invented by a Canadian, transform contaminated
water into drinkable water in seconds," says Fred Weiss, Executive Director of
Calgary-based Samaritan's Purse Canada. "At only $100 each, they are a
low-cost, sustainable solution for many of the one billion people who are
forced to risk their lives by drinking contaminated water because no other
water is available to them."
    Contaminated water from ditches, ponds, creeks and rivers in the
developing world is a major contributor to diarrhoeal diseases such as
cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever that are killing more than 1.8 million
people worldwide each year. Ninety per cent of the deaths are children. A
child is dying every 20 seconds - making the need for safe drinking water
painfully urgent.
    Samaritan's Purse is helping to attack this global water crisis with
household-based BioSand Water Filters. Contaminated water poured into the top
of a BioSand Filter flows down through a column of fine sand. The sand traps
parasites and other contaminants. The organic materials caught in the sand
eventually develop into a biological layer that enhances filtration. The water
that comes out the spout after passing through the filter is clear, safe and
    When coupled with Samaritan's Purse's health and sanitation training, the
filters (each of which serves an average household of 8-10 people) enable
families to dramatically improve their health so parents can keep working and
children can keep going to school. When they can work and go to school, they
can escape the vicious cycle of sickness and poverty that hampers economic and
social development for individuals, communities and entire nations in the
developing world.
    The "Turn on the Tap" initiative, which Samaritan's Purse will promote
through radio and print ads in several Canadian cities, is designed to build
and install BioSand Water Filters in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In these
three regions, Samaritan's Purse has already built and installed filters in 25
countries. The relief agency works with local partners who know their
communities. Samaritan's Purse also strongly encourages families receiving
filters to help in their construction and installation.
    Involving local partners and individual filter recipients helps them
assume "ownership," and helps ensure the sustainability of the program and of
each filter. Through the construction and installation process, a community
shares the benefits of safe water: health, productivity, education and
    "I'm very excited that Samaritan's Purse is launching its Turn on the Tap
initiative," says Dr. David Manz, inventor of the BioSand Filter, who has
offered the life-saving technology to charitable relief and development
organizations for free. "Each household in Canada can provide safe drinking
water to one or more households in the developing world for an average cost of
only $100 per filter."
    BioSand Filters are made of concrete and other basic materials that are
normally available in or near the communities where the filters are intended -
meaning they can be locally built. The filters are very durable - lasting for
many years with minimal maintenance - and require no electricity or fuel. They
also feature a relatively robust flow rate of as much as 60 litres of filtered
water per hour.
    "BioSand Filters are proving to be an enormous benefit in the developing
world," Weiss said. "We are asking Canadian households to help us 'Turn on the
Tap' to safe water - one filter at a time."
    Canadians wishing to financially support Samaritan's Purse Canada's Turn
on the Tap should go to and click "Donate" or call
1-800-663-6500. They can also order a "Turn on the Tap" information kit to
share with their family, friends, church and co-workers.

    Media opportunities today in Calgary, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto:
    Samaritan's Purse is hosting a Turn on the Tap news conference in
Calgary, and "Turn on the Tap" media availability sessions in Vancouver,
Winnipeg and Toronto. Call 1-800-663-6500 for details.

    Some Important Statistics:
    -  Almost 4,500 children die every day from diarrhoea-related
    -  A baby born in sub-Saharan Africa is 520 times more likely than a
       child born in North America to die from diarrhoea.(1)
    -  An average person in the developing world survives on only 10 to 20
       litres of water a day, while his or her Canadian neighbour uses more
       than 300 litres a day.(2)
    -  The health improvements from a 50 per cent reduction in the number of
       people without access to safe drinking water would result in an extra
       272 million school attendance days and 320 million productive work
       days each year in the developing world - resulting in major economic
       and social benefits.(1)

    (1) WHO Unicef, 2005
    (2) Environment Canada, 2006

    BioSand Filter Results
    -  BioSand Filters can reduce microbial contaminants by
       95.0-99.9 per cent, research shows.(1)
    -  BioSand Filters can reduce diarrhoea-related diseases by up to
       40 per cent.(2)
    -  98 per cent of filter recipients surveyed in a worldwide evaluation
       use their filters regularly, and 85 per cent said they would drink
       water directly from contaminated sources if they had no filter.(3)

    (1) University of North Carolina, 2006
    (2) University of North Carolina, 2007
    (3) BioSand Filter Evaluation Report, 2001

    About Samaritan's Purse Canada
    Samaritan's Purse Canada is a Christian international relief and
development organization that is working in about 70 countries to provide aid
to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. It
also operates the well-known Operation Christmas Child program that sends
approximately 730,000 gift-filled shoeboxes to needy children around the world
each year. Please go to or to for
more information.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts (for photos, B-roll, interview
requests, etc.): Jeff Adams, Director of Communications, (403) 250-6565 (ext.
8723), Toll free: (800) 663-6500, Cell: (403) 615-8747,;
Scott Drennan, Communications Advisor, (403) 250-6565 (ext. 8722), Toll free:
(800) 663-6500, Cell: (403) 890-5123,

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