"Everything is possible with a water well."
So says Nick Jordan, co-founder of Wells of Life, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing water to impoverished African communities.
His organization is committed to drilling 1,000 wells, which would give water to 1 million people by 2018.
Jordan was previously involved with Fields of Life, Wells of Life's sister organization, which builds schools in Africa. During a trip there in 2008 with Fields of Life CEO Trevor Stevenson, Jordan realized a lack of water had a real hold on communities and decided to get involved.
"During the course of that trip, I heard everywhere that lack of water was the basis of poverty," said Jordan, a Laguna Beach real estate broker with Jordan Group, First Team Estates. "The reason girls didn't attend school was because they were hauling water with their mothers."
Jordan and Stevenson started the Laguna Beach-based nonprofit in 2008, and the group began drilling wells the next year. It has drilled 134 wells so far.
Imagine, Jordan said, carrying 44 pounds of water for three miles every day. Jordan — a strong man himself — said he couldn't do it.
Another problem Africans face is contamination, he said.
Much of the time they bring water that could make their children ill or even kill them.
"A light switch just came on the minute that I saw that," Jordan said.
Some of the communities they drill in haven't seen clean water in a thousand years, he said.
"I can tell you, gallon for gallon, the difference that bringing clean water does for a community," he said.
For one, he said, it can quickly halve the infant-mortality rate.
Jordan, who's originally from Ireland, has two sons of his own: Manus, 7, and Patrick, 5. He said they are already excited about the mission of Wells of Life and want to visit Africa to see it firsthand.
Jordan is currently planning a trip, where he will name a well after each son. He also wants to show them the school he named in honor of his late sister.
On July 3, Jordan held a fundraiser for Wells of Life at his San Juan Capistrano home and raised more than $40,000.
Professional golfer Rory McIlory, artist Robert Wyland, former L.A. County District Attorney Gil Garcetti and local retailer Reuse Jeans were among the many contributors to the silent auction.
Wyland, the famed marine life artist and muralist, said he didn't think twice about supporting the cause.
"There's no greater cause than protecting our water," Wyland said in an interview. "The world is thirsty for water and I think what Nick's doing — he's a hero. He's a hero for the planet."