Guest Commentary

Forget The Water


June 16, 2022

Editor’s note: Jack Peasley contacted Doug Griffiths, MBA with Kelly Clemmer, the author of “13 Ways to Kill Your Community” published by Friesen Press, who graciously gave permission to reprint in the East Washingtonian, the first chapter of his book. What follows is part five of five of Chapter 1, Forget the Water.



After many years of watching the community suffer with their water issues, I actually thought the tide had started to turn and they would tie in to the water line. Team Angry must have thought so too, so they organized a petition and got almost 1000 signatures. Third factions typically use petitions to enhance their numbers. In reality they are usually a small group right from the beginning, which is why they have to yell so hard, be so angry and take advantage of petitions to gain leverage. In this case I was lucky enough to be presented with a copy of the petition, since I was the champion of rural communities at the time. With far less political grace than I am sure they were accustomed to I tossed it back immediately, telling them it was an embarrassing declaration of stupidity and it was killing the community. I even laid out information for them about how the other communities were succeeding and growing. It didn’t matter to them. They were Team Angry and I was their new opponent. I ignored their protests and eventually they faded away. Eventually, the town did connect to the regional system, but they missed many of the great growth opportunities that had come to the region and to the other communities in those early years.

As we close out this chapter, I want you to consider a few important and little-known facts. Water covers more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. It seems abundant to us when we look at the big blue ball on which we live, but less than 2.5 percent of the world’s water is fresh water. The rest is saline or unfit for human consumption, and therefore not readily available or useful to us for most purposes. Even more alarming is that less than one percent of the world’s water is fresh and accessible. That means of all the fresh water that exists in the world, which is only 2.5 percent of all the world’s water, only 40 percent of that is even accessible to us.

So, in summary, the only water really available for use by the seven billion people on earth amounts to one percent of all the water in the world. Makes you want to turn off the tap while you brush your teeth rather than sending it clown the drain and to the ocean where it become saline and unusable, no? The poorest 20 percent of the global population spend more than 10 percent of their income on water. If you had to spend 10 percent of your income on water, how much would that be?

The majority of us spend more on television than we do on water, yet we cry foul and misdeed when we have to spend two percent of our income on something we simply cannot survive without. Fully one sixth of the world’s population does not have access to clean drinking (potable) water. That’s well over one billion people who don’t have access to clean water. The World Health Organization says at any one time, half the world’s population has one of the six diseases caused by drinking poor-quality water. None of us should take our water quality, or the quantity of it, for granted.

I believe the next Great War will be fought over oil. I also believe the Last Great War fought will be fought over water, because whoever controls the water will control everything. If you think the quality or quantity of water available to your community isn’t important, have a second thought. That water coming out of your tap isn’t going to guarantee your success, but having poor-quality water will leave your community to drink from a poisoned well, and the lack of quantity will leave your community with an insatiable thirst. Either Way, forgetting about your water is a sure way to kill your community.

Griffiths is the Founder and CEO of 13 Ways Inc, a consulting firm based in Alberta, Canada. For more information visit


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