On a recent morning in January, as the water in the Katy River rose to record levels, a young mother named Lulu sat on the banks of the river in her blue and white dress, her face covered with a towel.
Lulu was one of the few Houstonians to have access to a private water filter, which allowed her to use a hose to remove the toxic sludge from her waistband.
She had just finished taking her daughter to the park and was preparing for the long commute home.
But as Lulu and her daughter sat in the shade, the temperature rose, and the smell of chlorine flooded the air.
Lulu could barely breathe, and her father, Tariq, couldn’t stop crying.
“My heart was going out,” Tarik said.
“It was horrible.”
Tariqu’s daughter, Dariel, had also just arrived at the park from nearby Lake Travis.
She was just two years old, and Tariqi had just taken her to the swimming pool with him.
“She was in a swimming pool,” Toriq said.
As the rain and humidity increased, Darlene’s heart began racing.
“I was like, Oh my God, what is happening?”
The chlorine was getting to her.
The pressure was building up inside her lungs.
“We were trying to get her to breathe.
She didn’t want to breathe,” Triq said, adding that she had been told to wait a few minutes after she finished bathing before they began pumping.
When she finally did begin breathing, she told Tariqs son, Taji, that she was scared.
“There was a lot of chlorine in the water,” Tamiq said with a laugh.
“They’re spraying us with chlorine, trying to stop us from breathing.”
The only way to save Darielle was to go to the pool.
But she couldn’t.
Tari Qadir was a senior engineer at Houston’s Department of Water Management, which oversees the water distribution system.
As a young man, he worked at a local water plant, and he now worked at the city’s water utility, HPD.
“You could see the chlorine coming out of the pipes and the chlorine gas in the air,” he said.
But that wasn’t enough to stop Dariela’s heart from beating.
“Dariel was scared,” Tiriq said of the family’s fears.
“So they went to the hospital and the doctor put us on an IV and gave us some water.”
The doctor, Dr. John Egan, later told The Houston Chronicle that he had never seen anything like what Dariele was experiencing.
“If we had a patient who is going to die, it’s best for them to die first,” Egan said.
Within minutes of being given the first dose of water, Darelle began breathing.
The next few days, the family was given more water.
“Within 24 hours of giving water, we had an increase in her breathing, but not enough to save her,” Taniq said as he stared at the ceiling.
After weeks of receiving treatment at the local hospital, Darenelle was finally released from the hospital, but her father was shocked to find out that she’d been treated with more than three times the amount of water he had prescribed.
After doctors at the hospital said that the chlorine in their water had reached levels that would kill her, Triqs son took matters into his own hands and took matters in his own hand.
The first time he went to water stations in the city, he discovered that he was given a “special treatment” to reduce the chlorine levels.
It took weeks for TariQ to find a doctor who would take the boy’s case.
TARIQ’S RESEARCH Tarique was an engineer, but his research interests focused on water and water conservation.
He took a few classes at a private university and a course at the University of Texas, Austin, but he had no idea how much his interest in water would change the world.
He also didn’t have the knowledge of how to safely collect water from the Houston River.
His daughter Dariels body was now on the other side of the world, but it was too late for Tareq to reach out to her or help her recover.
When Tari, Daree, and Lulu went to Houston to find water, they had no way to get a filter and had to buy one from a nearby grocery store.
The filter was expensive, and it was very difficult to find.
“The only thing I had was a couple of bottles of bleach,” TARI Qadira said.
Tiliq’s son took over.
“He said, ‘I need to go back and do research and figure out how to do this,'” Tari said.
One of the first things he did was send out a survey to a number of