Water fuels her fire
Cleveland is one of the most water-abundant places on the planet, and Erin Dee Huber is on a mission to share the wealth.
In 2010, she founded the nonprofit Drink Local. Drink Tap. to address water access and clean water issues while working to inspire people to value, protect and share their water resources. Over the past five years, the organization has grown from offering local educational outreach and organizing monthly volunteer beach cleanups to tackling international projects and producing a documentary film titled Making Waves from Cleveland to Uganda.
“We work locally to creatively reconnect people to local water and the to the Great Lakes,” Huber explains. “Globally, we drill boreholes, or wells, for kids in need in East Africa.”
In 2012, Huber’s organization raised $30,000 to drill and maintain a borehole at St. Bonaventure Primary School in rural Uganda, providing access to safe drinking water to the school’s 700 students. Before the project, students traveled on foot between five and 10 miles each day to collect water for drinking and bathing, often missing school due to water-borne illness and the inability to wash properly.
Currently, Drink Local. Drink Tap. is in the process of implementing seven new borehole projects in Uganda, all planned to be located either on the grounds or adjacent to primary schools in often overlooked rural villages. These projects alone will impact more than 2,800 children who lack safe drinking water. Along with the wells, Huber and her team will work to educate the community about being good stewards of their new water source.
Back in Cleveland, Huber’s organization holds an annual 4 Miles 4 Water fundraising event along with a series of creative activities to celebrate World Water Day (March 22) in local schools through its Wavemaker Program.
Huber adamantly believes in what she calls “following her fire,” and it’s clear that she has not only found her passion, but has turned that passion into action. The environmental sciences and urban studies major credits her experiences at Cleveland State—namely a two-year effort to fund and build a 7,000-square-foot green roof atop the University recreation center—with providing opportunities to develop the project management and research skills that have transformed her into a leader.
Huber’s fearless dedication to protecting and providing safe water that saves lives was recognized by Cleveland State University in 2012 with a Distinguished Alumni Award. That same year, she was named one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People and was inducted into the Mentor High School Alumni Hall of Fame.