Women for water

About seven people will die during the first minute of Women of the Wells' charity walk Saturday morning.

They won't die in Huntington Beach, per se, but every eight seconds, according to the World Health Organization, a child somewhere in the world dies from a disease caused by unsafe drinking water.

When the Newport Beach-based nonprofit starts its 5-kilometer trek at Beach Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, it hopes to raise enough money to reduce those fatalities — even if it's just by a few.

The nonprofit, founded in 2005 by Huntington Beach resident Kathy Daniels, has raised money to install wells and cisterns in 11 impoverished countries in Africa, Asia and South America. Daniels and her colleagues have already paid for three wells this year, and they hope the money raised Saturday will go toward seven or eight more, at least.

"It's something we take so for granted," said group President Georgiana Willis. "When you bring clean water to a village, you're giving that village a reprieve from the disease and death that would certainly come if they went on drinking filthy water."

The fundraiser, the WOW Walk 4 Water, is Women of the Wells' second annual charity walk. The nonprofit previously raised funds through luncheons and teas, but the members started the walk last year because they felt distance symbolized how far many people had to walk to find water.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, with the walk starting an hour later. Signs containing facts about water availability around the world, propped up in plastic buckets, will line the route along Pacific Coast Highway.

Daniels originally had the idea for Women of the Wells when she saw a television program about the difficulty Third World residents had obtaining drinkable water. She and her husband raised funds independently to buy wells through the charity Operation Blessing International before Daniels decided to start her own group.

Even though she and the other leaders of Women of the Wells have never visited a Third World country, photos of the conditions there — with people walking miles to gather water from muddy rivers and lakes — told them enough.

"We wouldn't even step in that water, let alone drink it," Daniels said.

About a dozen members of Women of the Wells will walk in the event, and the registration fee for others is $25. Participants are also invited to solicit pledges from others to turn in the day of the event. For this year's walk, the nonprofit has a pair of sponsors in Huntington Beach: Grace Lutheran School and the Official Tae Kwon Do Academy.

Carla Espinosa, the academy's co-owner, said she heard about the event from a parent of two of her students. Espinosa passed the information on to her classes, and she expects as many as 30 students to walk Saturday.

"Our children need to understand that there's other children in the world who aren't as fortunate as we are," she said. "So when this came about, it was a good opportunity for our students to understand that."

If You Go

What: WOW Walk 4 Water

Where: Pacific Coast Highway and Beach Boulevard

When: Registration at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, walk at 9:30 a.m.

Cost: $25 to register; pledges also encouraged

Information: (949) 644-2182 or http://www.womenofthewells.org

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