Support for water program in Timor Leste

Field Reports

14 January 2016

Carrying Water Project Town Meeting Held!

Since the Meisui Marathon in 2015, the Carrying Water Project has been promoting its concept and aims, as a way of dealing with population decline in Ono City. To get this project off the ground, we wanted to hear what the citizens thought!That’s why we held a town meeting.

First, our mayor made a welcome address.

“We are delighted to have so many people at the town meeting. Look how many people have come! The citizens of Ono City are wonderful!“ Many reporters were impressed.

Then, Mr. Junji Hashimoto, a journalist on the subject of water, started his lecture!

Then, Mr. Junji Hashimoto, a journalist on the subject of water, started his lecture!After graduating from Gakushuin University, Mr. Hashimoto worked for a publisher. Then, as a journalist and “aqua communicator”, he carried out field research in a variety of locations that suffer from water-related issues. Using his findings, he has been active in making proposals to national and local government,educating children, and spreading information to the general public. In fact, he has chosen Ono City as “The city of Japan with the most delicious tap water.”We were delighted to have him here.

One of the most impressive parts of Mr. Hashimoto’s lecture was his assertion that “It is not just the taste, it is also what goes on behind the scenes that makes water delicious.” Tap water in Tokyo, tap water in Osaka, tap water in Ono City ….When we drink glasses of tap water from different places and compare their flavors taste, we might think they are the same. Tap water in Tokyo has to be processed to be drinkable; however, tap water in Ono is natural: you can drink natural water just by turning on the tap. Although both water in Tokyo and Ono taste similar, the difference is whether the water is artificial or natural and whether or not it costs money. The real difference is whether the water is a factory product or whether it is natural.

Yes, indeed…! For us living in Ono, having pure water is so natural we take it for granted. That really opened our eyes!

Now, we welcome your opinions.Please raise your hands if you have any comments.At first, the citizens were too shy to say anything, but after a while, they made a lot of comments and asked questions.

In Tokyo, it costs a lot to produce tap water. Which country has the most expensive tap water in the world? Do you know any countries with cheaper water?

Singapore makes the most expensive tap water because it turns seawater into fresh water. In some areas in Peru, water bills are very high. Water from a well is the least expensive.

How do you get elementary and junior-high school students involved in the Carrying Water Project?

If we take Mishima City as an example, we have a class on water for high school students once a week. We do research on the flow of water on Mt. Fuji, and apply this to revitalizing the town. Some high school students who participated in this project went to Vietnam. Those students who had personal experience of Vietnam have become teachers and now visit elementary and junior-high schools to give lessons. Mishima city may be a good example as to how Ono City can raise its younger generation.

I hear that sterilized ground water is delicious. How much chlorine do we need for delicious water?

Only a little, 0.1mg/l. In fact, we don’t really need to sterilize ground water, but the law stipulates that we do. Pure water, as you find in Ono City, is not a problem even if you drink it without sterilization.

People were more interested than we expected!Even after the moderator signaled it was the last question, another person raised his hand to make a comment.

Finally, how about some words of encouragement for Ono City?About 25 years ago, I had a job sending bottled water all over Japan. I quit that job because it did not make profits. Instead, I would like to encourage people to visit Ono to taste the water. The attraction of Ono for business through the Carrying Water Project will be an important measure against population decline. I agree with this line of argument.

Yes, you are right. Pride and happiness. From now on, things that cannot just be measured by economic indices will become important. “Hokori” (Pride), Happy, and Ono are three key words for Ono City. Let’s take the first letter of each word: H-H-O. Because there are two Hs, we can turn this into H2O (=water).An increasing number of the world’s population cannot survive because they do not have access to clean water. In contrast, Ono has plenty of water. We should appreciate that fact. People in Ono City do not take anything for granted and they come to appreciate the fact that they have plenty of clean water. This spirit of appreciation makes Ono a wonderful city.

The town meeting ended with Mr. Hashimoto’s words. This has been a landmark meeting!To those citizens and business people who participated in this town meeting, thank you very much. I hope you will continue to support the Carrying Water Project.