clevelander makes waves through water sustainability education

In recent years, Mentor native Erin Huber has flown 7,000 miles just to get the population of a small Ugandan village a drop to drink. That effort is part of a larger endeavor to promote water sustainability both locally and globally.

Huber, founder of Drink Local Drink Tap, a nonprofit organization seeking to connect Clevelanders to local water through art installations and free environmental education, traveled to Africa the last two summers with the mission of getting an impoverished people access to clean water.

The first trip, in 2011, found the activist journeying throughout East Africa to learn about the water situation. Her visit to a rural Ugandan town was particularly eye-opening. Children in the village had to walk over a mile to find a nearby water source, and the water wasn't clean or safe.

Last summer, Huber and her small team returned to Uganda, where they drilled a 70-meter hole into a water table to bring drinkable water to the people of the tiny African community. They filmed their efforts for the documentary Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda, which Huber hopes to screen at the Cleveland International Film Festival.

"We struck water 'gold,'" she says of the Africa venture, which now supplies fresh drinking water to about 1,500 villagers.

Huber, with a master's degree in environmental studies from Cleveland State University and fond memories of a childhood spent camping next to lakes, streams and rivers, has three more water-related projects set for a future jaunt to Uganda. Meanwhile, she will continue to educate Cleveland's youth and adults about the enormous local fresh water resource known as the Great Lakes.

"We have to realize how fortunate we are," Huber says. "Everything we see needs water to exist."
SOURCE: Erin Huber
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth
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