WWD 2011: a roundup.

It’s World Water Day! For us, today has been all about spreading the word that a billion people live without clean and safe drinking water. Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite WWD initiatives this year >

UN Talk on Water for Cities, NYC

While the big United Nations consortium got underway in Cape Town, South Africa, a few charity: water staff ventured uptown for the UN’s panel here in NYC. The topic: water for the world’s cities. Researchers and specialists shared their studies on water systems from the crowded streets of Kampala to the slums of Dar es Salaam.


Studies couldn’t be more timely; why is there need to focus on urban challenge? …because water access in cities has deteriorated.

– Andrew Hudson
UNDP Water Gov Programme Cluster Leader

Most of our projects are in rural areas, where women and kids walk hours to collect their water. Overall progress in world water coverage for these regions is on target to meet the Millennium Development Goal by 2015. But the story isn’t the same for people living in cities. “We’re witnessing a radical demographic shift,” UNDP Water Governance Programme Cluster Leader Andrew Hudson told the panel this morning. “By 2030, all developing regions will have more people living in cities than in rural areas. And access to clean water in cities has failed to keep pace with this population growth.”

The number of people living without clean drinking water in urban areas has increased by 20% in the past decade. There are solutions for these areas; but as the UN panel pointed out, city settings can magnify obstacles. Urban areas couple the densest population with the highest poverty rates. Poor sanitation in cramped areas with bad drainage systems increase the risk of contamination.

The panel’s researchers, who have been working in Sub-Saharan cities, highlighted the challenges but also offered hope for new private and public water solutions. We’re excited to see how the sector can use this info to create new models for inner-city coverage this year.

PBS: Water Woes.

Another spotlight on water in cities — today, PBS focused on areas that are struggling the most right now for clean water access.

In Japan, 1.8 million people are cut off from water sources from the quake. Haiti continues to fight cholera. Slums in Kenya grapple with water shortages while population surges in New Delhi tighten reserves.

Catch the collection of stories here >

one week for water logo

One Week for Water.

Water orgs from around the world have teamed up to support One Week for Water. They’re asking anyone to donate their voice — meaning their Facebook or Twitter status — to spread the word that one in eight people lives without clean water. Learn more about One Week for Water here >

Vlogging about water in Haiti.

“I do a lot of weird things that I think make the world and my life better,” writes Vlog Brother Hank Green. “And so last week I went to Haiti with Water.org.” Hank was one of three bloggers chosen by Water.org to visit communities in need of clean water in Haiti. He spent a few days in a rural village called Savann Tabak where he picked up on the inner-workings of a local water committee. He looks like he’d be pretty fun to travel with… watch Hank’s vlog from Haiti >

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WWD events around the globe.

Ok, sick of just reading or watching things online about World Water Day? Want to attend an actual event? The UN has collected WWD events from around the world on one map. Maybe there’s one near you — check it out here >

From us: spread the simple message that water changes everything.


You probably got our email update (no? sign up here!), or our Tweets and Facebook posts… this World Water Day, we created simple messages for you to share with everyone you know, to teach them quickly and simply about the water crisis.

WWD is obviously about water. But water affects just about everything else in life. Safe water solutions can change much more than what someone drinks every day. Water changes everything. Learn more at charitywater.org/everything. Pass the link around. And feel free to use our simple ads to spread the word, too >

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