Podcast | The effort to provide safe water to everyone

Actor Matt Damon and engineer Gary White discuss solutions to the water crisis.

Colorful water jugs in the grass

Plastic vessels for collecting drinking water are lined up by a roadside water tap at Kadamakkudy, a coastal wetland in Kochi, Kerala state, India, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021. (R S Iyer/AP)

Access to clean water is a major issue across the globe. According to a 2020 report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF, 771 million people lack access to safe drinking water.

This issue has also brought together two unlikely partners, engineer Gary White and actor Matt Damon, in the creation of the nonprofit water.org. Their goal is to help bring an end to this global need in their lifetimes. 


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For this episode of the Crosscut Talks podcast, White and Damon describe what drew them to this work while laying out the problem as they understand it. 

In this conversation with Dr. Leah Stokes from the 2022 Crosscut Festival, they also detail how their efforts to facilitate the financing of solutions has made clean water available to more than 40 million people and tell the story of how their work has impacted those who previously spent hours each day securing clean water.

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About the Hosts

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten

Mark Baumgarten is the managing editor at Crosscut and KCTS 9.