By TFN Staff


Millions of Americans take water service for granted every day. Turn on the tap, and clean water flows out. Flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. With reliable water service, people don’t have to think twice about the infrastructure that brings water to their homes, and then safely returns water to the environment – but everyone should be concerned with the fragility of those systems. 

Today, the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN) joins elected officials, water utilities, community leaders, educators, and businesses from across the country as part of the fifth 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, a thousand organizations across the country will raise awareness about not taking water for granted and the crucial need for investment in our nation’s water systems.

Imagine a Day Without Water began in 2015 as a project of The Value of Water Campaign. In 2018, more than 1,000 organizations signed up to participate in the annual day of advocacy and education, including several TFN member organizations.

The Value of Water Campaign educates and inspires the nation about how water is essential, invaluable, and in need of investment. Spearheaded by top leaders in the water industry, and coordinated and staffed by the US Water Alliance, the Value of Water Campaign seeks to build public and political will for investment in America’s water infrastructure.

 On Imagine a Day Without Water, the campaign asks us to take a moment to think about what would happen if you couldn’t turn on the tap and get clean drinking water, or if you flushed the toilet and wastewater didn’t go anywhere. What would that day be like? What would firefighters do? Could hospitals be sanitary without clean tap water, or without wastewater service? Would restaurants and hotels be able to serve guests? Would famers be able to water their crops or care for their livestock? Would manufacturing plants that require vast amounts of clean water, such as breweries or paper mills, shut down?

We take for granted that we don’t have to ask those questions every day, but America’s water infrastructure is aging and failing. Stories of communities with neglected infrastructure and compromised drinking water bubble up regularly. Record rainfalls in the Midwest this spring flooded the Mississippi River with pollution, and this summer toxic algae bloomed in the Great Lakes – a critical source of drinking water for millions of Americans. In other parts of the country, drought and wildfires threaten critical water supplies for communities and farmers. There are even communities, especially in many rural places across the country, that have never had access to infrastructure in the first place. Americans can’t take their water infrastructure for granted. 

Water infrastructure is the lifelines of our community. Our water infrastructure supports every facet of our daily lives, but our water infrastructure is facing challenges.

Equitable access to clean water, as well as approaches to water management that address the urgency of climate change and other sustainability challenges, are issues with deep resonance among many of our TFN members and the communities and constituencies they serve.

TFN is committed to inspire, strengthen and expand philanthropic leadership focused on creating environmentally sustainable, socially equitable and economically prosperous regions and communities.

Next month, TFN’s Urban Water and GREEN working groups will co-host an annual meeting in New Orleans, an ideal location to bring together the combined interests of funders engaged with these working groups, especially given the important work underway in the city and region to address water, climate, equity and sustainability challenges.

The meeting of TFN’s Urban Water and GREEN — which stands Green, Renewable, Efficient, Equitable Now — working groups takes place Nov. 13-14 in New Orleans.

The meeting agenda, being designed by a planning committee of funders, will deepen learning from place and from peers addressing key cross-cutting themes of Power, Equity, and Climate Resilience.

On Wednesday, November 13, the meeting will offer a full day of immersion into work underway in New Orleans and the larger region to mitigate and adapt to climate change and sea level rise in ways that build community voice, power and leadership, as well as partnerships across sectors.

On Thursday, November 14, funders will discuss how lessons from the New Orleans region can inform their own grantmaking strategies around climate mitigation, resilience, green stormwater infrastructure, and sustainability, and identify opportunities for further joint learning and collaboration. Thursday’s agenda will build in time for each of the two working groups to meet individually to catch up on workplan activities.

TFN’s GREEN and Urban Water funders will convene in New Orleans in November for a joint annual meeting,

For registration and other information on the GREEN and Urban Water Annual Meeting, visit this link.

For more information on the Value of Water Campaign, follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

Editor’s Note: A portion of this post originally appeared as resource material provided by the Imagine a Day Without Water campaign.