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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Interview with Melanie Koeman, Director of Waves for Water, Australia

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Founded by pro surfer Jon Rose, Waves For Water’s mission is to get clean drinking water to those in need. Waves for Water have partnered with Byron Bay Surf Festival to share their mission.

Byron Bay Surf Festival | Wed–Sun 

Founded by pro surfer Jon Rose, Waves For Water’s mission is to get clean drinking water to those in need. Waves for Water have partnered with Byron Bay Surf Festival to share their mission.

I was really interested about your engagement with Byron Surf Festival. How does their event align with the values of Waves for Water?

The BBSF has a strong grassroots foundation and so does Waves for Water. We felt that our values of community strength, human spirit, environmental consciousness, and global awareness aligned perfectly.

Maybe tell me a little about Waves for Water and how you came to be involved.

We provide water filtration systems, rainwater harvesting, and well-restoration programs to communities in need. We are also a strong first responder to disasters. One in nine people around the world does’t have access to clean water and we believe this problem is solvable. We have a strong Clean Water Courier program where individual travellers can deliver water filters to the areas they visit. Changing lives through DIY humanitarianism. If you want to check out some inspiring courier stories  visit us at our Waves for Water tent at the BBSF Saturday markets. We can then help you find out how you can get involved.

What are some of the issues that countries like Lombok face with their water quality?

As you know, Lombok experienced two large earthquakes in a short period last August. Lombok had over 400,000 people displaced, with over 70,000 homes destroyed. The need for basics such as clean water and food and shelter was huge. The impact of this event on a remote, poorly accessible and poorly resourced island is still being felt. But disasters aside, countries like Indonesia have a chronic problem – one in five children under the age of five dies from drinking dirty water.

What are some of the projects you have on the go at the moment?

From our Australian base we are working in Lombok, Sulawesi, Bali, and the Mentawai regions of Indonesia in particular. Globally, since 2009, we have worked in 44 countries and responded to 33 disasters. We plan to do some good work in our own backyard with Indigenous communities in need.

How hard is it to send messages about waste management and recycling when you are dealing with high levels of tourism in what is a struggling economy?

Yes, there is an enormous problem in places like Indonesia; however, change is happening. Bali has banned plastic bags recently and more travellers are conscious travellers. For example Wave Of The Day surf travel promotes conscious travelling to all their customers. That’s why we have collaborated with them on a campaign to coincide with the BBSF. https://waveoftheday.com.au/win/

Find out more about Waves for Water at the Byron Surf Festival this weekend Wednesday–Sunday in Byron Bay. Full program and tix on byronbaysurffestival.com.au.

 


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