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Posted at 5:17 PM ET, 03/23/2009

We'll Drink to That

By Fritz Hahn

With plastic bottles of H2O available at every corner store, it's all too easy to take clean water for granted. But in many parts of the world, the need for drinkable water remains a huge issue. According to UNICEF, lack of safe water is the world's "single largest cause of illness," and diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation and unclean water is the second largest cause of death for children worldwide. (Just to stress the point, children in sub-Saharan African are 520 times more like to die of this than kids in Europe or North America.)

To draw attention to the issue, this week has been designated World Water Week. Participating is easy: Order tap water to drink at one of dozens of participating restaurants, and in lieu of a charge, you'll be asked if you want to donate to the UNICEF Tap Project. For every dollar you chip in, a child can get 40 liters of clean drinking water -- that's enough to last for 40 days.

Helping to kick off World Water Week is Tap DC's "Something Beautiful" exhibition, which features water-inspired drawings and paintings created by local artists. The opening event on Tuesday, from 6 to 9 p.m., includes a video piece from Ayodamola Okunseinde of Dissident Display gallery and live music created by experimental electronica artist Yoko K. and "water harpist" Jayme Turner, whose instrument consists of glasses filled with varying amounts of water. In addition, bartenders will be serving filtered water with different infusions and garnishes, as well as cocktails. (Picture a mojito with basil/lime/syrup-infused water and you're on the right track.)

There's no charge to enter Pepco's Edison Place gallery, though the organizers are asking for donations, all of which go to provide water to children in developing countries.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 23, 2009; 5:17 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Museums  
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I don't get it. "In lieu of a charge..." What restaurant charges for tap water anyway? So these restaurants are merely providing a forum where you can donate to this UNICEF program. That's great, but I don't understand the need for the restaurants' participation. I can donate to that from my computer.

Posted by: Biowap38 | March 23, 2009 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Restaurants are participating to encourage diners to donate money for something they normally take for granted. While you can get clean drinking water for free at any restaurant, people all over the world die from lack of clean drinking water. When the Tap Project started in NYC in 2007, many celebrity chefs began supporting the project which is how the restaurant piece came to be. It's a great cause and is extremely transparent - $1 gives a child clean drinking water for 40 days.

Posted by: b_a_richardson | March 24, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

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