How would you go about your day if you didn’t have access to clean water? Life would be very different.
On Oct. 21, Colorado State University will join elected officials, water utilities, community leaders, educators and businesses from across the country as part of the seventh annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water.
Led by the Value of Water Campaign, more than a thousand organizations throughout the U.S. have signed up to participate this year, to raise awareness about the role of water infrastructure in our lives and the importance of investment. The focus of 2021’s event is to invite people to learn more about where our water comes from and where our wastewater goes.
The One Water Solutions Institute, based in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has teamed up with the Colorado Water Center to bring Imagine a Day Without Water to campus. They aim to highlight how water is essential, invaluable and in need of investment as well as help our community better understand the idiosyncrasies of water in the West.
“As a headwater state, Western water rights are unique to our region,” said Sarah Millonig, assistant director of the One Water Solutions Institute. “When I first moved to Colorado 15 years ago, I was clueless about these policies and challenges. Imagine a Day Without Water not only allows us to bring awareness to water scarcity challenges faced in our arid region, but also provides a platform to engage with students and highlight the University’s water-related programs and activities.”
CSU community members are invited to stop by the booth that will be set up in the Lory Student Center Plaza between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Oct. 21 to learn more about the water programs and activities offered across campus and pick up some free swag. On Oct. 21 and the days leading up to Imagine a Day Without Water, the Water Center will post interactive quizzes on their Instagram and Twitter pages.
CSU is a world-renowned leader in water resource programs. The One Water Solutions Institute brings together researchers from across campus to solve water-related problems for public and private stakeholders. The institute manages several national research centers working to address water sustainability challenges and hosts Hydrology Days, an annual gathering of interdisciplinary leaders in water studies and presentation of state-of-the-art scientific results.
The Colorado Water Center is a division of CSU’s Office of Engagement and Extension that serves higher education throughout the state of Colorado. The center is a hub for water-related interdisciplinary research, education and engagement. It strives to connect diverse water stakeholders to resources and expertise.
Gwénaëlle d’Aumale, outreach coordinator for the Water Center, said partnering on Imagine a Day Without Water aligns with the center’s purpose of empowering Colorado’s future leaders to secure and advocate for our valuable freshwater resources while raising awareness of Colorado’s specific water issues.
“I want people to go home on Oct. 21 remembering that water as a resource is everywhere,” d’Aumale said. “It’s in the manufacturing process of your jeans, in the butternut squash you’re eating for dinner and in the beer you’ll be sharing with your friends this weekend. Everyone must recognize that investment in water is essential for our future livelihoods and then act upon it.”
According to the US Water Alliance, there are two million Americans living without water service, and with the stress of climate change and the challenges of maintaining water infrastructure that is a century old in some places, there is growing concern about the stability of water supplies and services.
“We’re grateful to Colorado State University for being a part of this year’s Imagine a Day Without Water,” said Oluwole (OJ) McFoy, board chair of the US Water Alliance. “Even though we cannot see the pipes and sewers beneath our feet, water cannot be taken for granted. High-quality water service is a critical part of every thriving community.”
According to the 2021 Value of Water Index, 83 percent of Americans said ensuring a stable supply of water should be a top federal priority. They also ranked addressing water contamination and investing in infrastructure as top priorities. Learn more at imagineadaywithoutwater.org and follow the conversation on social media at #ValueWater.