It is hard to imagine modern life without water infrastructure. Think about our neighborhoods, or what it takes to grow our food, or technology we all depend on. Reliable water infrastructure makes it all possible. Yet, policy makers fail to invest in water and wastewater service, leaving them vulnerable to unprecedented challenges. This inaction threatens the country’s ability to thrive in the future. Too often, critical water infrastructure is out of sight and out of mind, taken for granted until something breaks and service is disrupted.
The Value of Water Campaign designed Imagine a Day Without Water as a way for people to reflect on the essential role infrastructure plays in our lives. This national day of action shines a light on the people, pipes, and pumps that bring water to and from our homes and businesses and aims to build public and political will to support investments in water. Investments in water protect public health and the environment – what could be more important than that?
The first year Imagine a Day Without Water was held, the Value of Water Campaign’s goal was for 50 organizations to sign up to participate. We were blown away by how well the day was received, then and now. In 2018, Imagine a Day Without Water’s fourth year, over 1,100 organizations signed up.
For the Value of Water Campaign staff and supporters, breaking one thousand organizations for the first time is a huge milestone. With so many supporters spreading the word, the message about the need to #ValueWater reach millions of Americans.
The conversation online reached 6.5 million Twitter users and generated over 21.5 million impressions, and the campaign’s 16 radio interviews reached 1.6 million people. But, we are thrilled by how the campaign’s message is inspiring communities in a deeper way to talk to elected officials and to one another about water.
Here are some of our favorite examples:
- Grassroots organizations in Flint and Detroit, with help from Miss Michigan and community members, held an entire day of activities to remind the country that their communities don’t have to imagine a day without water – many of them are still living it.
- Water utilities, like the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, opened their doors to the public. They gave tours of facilities and projects to show customers how their rates pay for systems that protect local waters and reduce the threat of flooding.
- Elected officials, including Senator Ben Cardin, Governor Jay Inslee and over a dozen mayors, affirmed the need to invest in and value water.
- Coffee shops and breweries partnered with utilities like Hampton Roads Sanitation District and DC Water to host water trivia nights and talk about how local businesses can’t operate without reliable and safe water and wastewater service.
Museums and zoos had special programming to get visitors thinking about water science and its role in man-made and natural ecosystems.
There’s not usually much in common between governors, beauty queens, baristas, fourth graders, and bartenders, but Imagine a Day Without Water brings everyone together. No matter what walk of life we come from, water is essential, and all of us can do more to ensure no one has to imagine or live a day without water service again.