Rotarians learn about Thailand clean water initiative

Jake Old • May 2, 2017 at 3:08 PM

Frank Rothermel, member of the Knoxville Rotary Club and a past district governor, held a presentation Tuesday about his club’s efforts to bring clean water to communities in Thailand.


During a Lebanon Noon Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, Rothermel presented information and photos about the volunteer and charitable project that installed 115 water houses in the past 10 years.

Each water house is a small building that contains equipment to clean water from existing sources in Thailand, and costs about $3,500-$5,000 to build. They are funded by grants and contributions from Rotarians and clubs throughout the district.

Water houses are normally placed near schools due to their centralized nature within communities, Rothermel said.

“We do this for many reasons, but what it really comes down to is the children,” Rothermel said. “People over there love their kids and grandkids just as much as we love our kids and grandkids.”

Rotarians travel to Thailand to volunteer on the project and meet people who benefit from the clean water in the communities.

Many of the children in the communities will taste clean water – and chilled water – for the first time through this initiative, Rothermel said.

“It’s funny, they’ll drink the water and say ‘this water doesn’t taste like anything,’” Rothermel said. “You have to tell them that’s what water is supposed to taste like.”

Through the program, Rotarians teach someone in the community how to maintain the water system, and they leave them with enough filters to last three years. After that, the community works to fund new filters.

The Lebanon Noon Rotary Club meets Tuesdays at noon at the Lebanon Golf and Country Club. For more information, visit lebanonnoonrotary.org. 

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