By Radhika Fox, Director, Value of Water Coalition

November 4, 2015

Earlier this year, the Value of Water Coalition decided to organize an event that every water and wastewater agency and like-minded advocacy group could participate in as a way to raise awareness about the often invisible water infrastructure crisis. We called it Imagine a Day Without Water.

The US Water Alliance coordinates the Value of Water Coalition, because the work of the Coalition is fundamental to the US Water Alliance’s mission of driving a paradigm shift in how the nation views, values, and manages water. We were all thrilled that the response was so positive. One hundred and eighty five organizations signed up to participate in Imagine a Day Without Water, far exceeding our expectations!

Major highlights for us definitely included press conferences in Atlanta and Los Angeles, where Mayor Reed and Mayor Garcetti both addressed the critical nature of water security. Both mayors described how unimaginable it would be for their cities to go a day without water and discussed projects underway to create a more secure water future for residents.

Across the country, cities, like Beaufort, South Carolina, and states like Arizona signed resolutions and proclamations to value water. Value of Water Coalition members participated in a radio tour that reached more than 2.8 million listeners through more than 400 airplays of interviews. Several organizations wrote press releases, blogs, and opinion pieces. Philadelphia Water published an op-ed with former Governor Ed Rendell in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Water agencies and city departments partnered up with schools, aquariums and car washes even got in on the act. We heard from regular people in Durham, North Carolina and business owners in Kansas City, Missouri about how terrible a day without water would be. New Jersey American Water recruited local graphic design students to develop memes for the campaign.

Thousands of social media accounts shared out our message about the importance of investing in water infrastructure too. We organized a “Thunderclap,” to spread the same social media message across 446 Twitter and Facebook accounts simultaneously on Tuesday, October 6th. The experiment worked, and our message reached nearly 600,000 social media users. In total, our #ValueWater and #ImagineADayWitoutWater hashtags received more than 6 million impressions on Twitter.

From television to Twitter, our message reached millions of Americans. We are so happy with the results we’re planning to do it – or something like it – again in 2016. If you joined us this year, thank you so much for your participation. We are truly stronger together and Imagine a Day Without Water would have been nothing without your support.