We’re moving on to faucets.

But I need to pause here. In the midst of all this, I have an idea. It’s something so small in the scheme of things, but big on the soul-side. Something that feels way more real than any part of this renovation. So keep reading. I need your help.


Electrical and plumbing is done. Paint, floors, kitchen cabinets — done. Countertops ordered. I’ve mastered the glossaries for all of these. That’s the way I make choices; I learn the language first. So now it’s gooseneck, swivel, single-handle, side handle, pullout sprayer. Chrome vs. nickel vs. stainless. Aerator. Insta-hot. Or not.


It’s too much. Too much information, too many choices, too many stores and price-compares, packaging, shipping charges, and STUFF. I’ve mentioned before my uncomfortable sense of privilege with this project, modest as it may be. A home renovation puts you right in the belly of American consumer choices, perceived value, discardable everything. Your Stuff versus your self. Your House versus your home. I get to choose from hundreds of faucet designs. Somewhere, a woman is walking for miles, every day, to get jugs of clean water back to her family.

Early this morning, sitting with this itchy feeling of materialism, I made a commitment to myself that I will a) set a budget for our faucet fixtures, and b) come in under that budget, and c) donate the remainder to a water-focused charitable organization.

It’s nothing. Maybe it’s even obnoxious, I don’t know. But I feel compelled to bring some balance of … responsibility? accountability? kindness? humility? … to this project. A gesture of gratitude to the universe. A bow.

So, I googled “water charities.” And what pops up but this remarkable coincidence (AKA, affirmation from the universe): 2013 is the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. And, March 22 is World Water Day — just eight days from today. Meant to be, right?

But that google search? I’m right back in the maelstrom of information and choices. There are dozens of organizations doing amazing work with water resources. I need recommendations — from real people, not a search engine.

If you had a very small amount of money to donate to an effort that helps bring clean water to developing communities, where would you send it? Here are just three options that rose to the top for me.

Ryan’s Well Foundation – started by a first grade boy, the foundation has now built 710 wells and 910 latrines in developing countries.

WATERisLIFE – brings clean water solutions and programs to developing countries, including the WaterisLife Straw: a personal, portable water filtration straw that filters out waterborne diseases. Each straw costs $10.

Water.org – Partners with indigenous organizations that have real understandings of their local culture, which helps ensure long-term oversight, ownership, and success. Through a small-loan program, communities partially fund their own projects.

What do you think? Comments are wide open and can be anonymous if you choose. Your email address stays private. I’d love to hear your ideas.

5 thoughts on “Water

  1. The last one! Microfinance is the way to go, especially if you have a limited budget. BTW, I dunno WHAT faucet you are actually choosing, but … okay, I know this sounds cheap, but … go to Costco. And get the one that looks like it belongs in your kitchen.

  2. Analyse your choices based not on what the idea seems to be, but whether the local beneficiaries are participants in decisions, designs and longterm engagement. Millions have been wasted on water programs that have little local relevance. See if you can find an organisation that vets these kinds of choices, recommends ones that are effective, truly socially relevant.
    And please, think first of Haiti.

  3. I feel as you do – renovating is a strange mix of wanting (to do the right thing in a thousand ways) and knowing that you are so lucky to be grappling with these decisions at all.

    Regarding the faucet, BEWARE the sexy, uber-tall gooseneck. We have a beauty that was given to us by a friend, but it’s so tall that when we use it, water splashes all over the counter. Our very un-dignified, ridiculous-looking solution has been to always leave the nozzle drooping from that lovely gooseneck by about 6 inches of the pull-out hose !

    • Such good advice! I’d read about the splashing issues. Fingers crossed our height/depth/pressure ratio works out. I’ve heard an aerator can help? Not knowing if your decision will later plague you is another big hurdle in this process for me. Thanks for reading!

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