By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – October 2, 2015 – 2 Comments

You may have read this headline and thought, “Okay, Dr. Water, good job on stating the obvious.” Sure, if asked, most people will say yes, water is essential. But what is obvious when prompted isn’t always top of mind or even thought about at all – and that can lead to problems.

The Value of Water Coalition’s Imagine A Day Without Water campaign – running from October 6-8 – takes a great approach that, at its core, reminds people to think about how water is needed every single day. The whole campaign is based on that seemingly simple, but so very powerful, message: water is essential to our livelihood.

From here, the campaign is creating a virtual army to bring this and other key messages to their communities, while getting people to think even more deeply beyond the “obvious” to better understand 1) what the threat to water is, 2) how this threat can be lessened, and 3) what can be accomplished by working together.

I use the army analogy because this exactly what Imagine A Day Without Water is doing in communities across the country; it’s “recruiting” volunteers then arming them with knowledge and tool kits so they can engage people around them, educate more people and “build the army” fighting the national water crisis.

As complex a topic we know water conservation, quality and preservation can be – this campaign boils it down to bite-size facts people can think about without getting overwhelmed, as well as ones they can relate to in their lives every day. Some great examples include:

  • Water systems work around the clock, and many are over 100 years old – some cities have wooden systems dating back to the Civil War
  • There are 700 water mains break every day in the U.S.
  • 43% of the U.S. is experiencing drought conditions
  • The average U.S. family spends twice as much on their cable bill as they do their water bill

Armed with this knowledge, Imagine A Day Without Water then asks participants get involved “where they live and work,” in a way that fits for them. The “tool kit” offers eleven ways to get involved that range from writing an op-ed and sharing pre-created social media graphics, to leading dialogues and advocacy campaigns that promote investments in water infrastructures.

American Water is proud to be part of the Imagine A Day Without Water “army” as a participating organization. It’s energizing to see how groups around the country and transforming the obvious into a truly powerful movement for the future. Here’s a look at just a few things happening around American Water alone: 

  • Illinois American Water is sponsoring an elementary school art contest encouraging students to draw a picture and write a sentence on what a day without water would mean to them.
  • Tennessee American Water is partnering with the Tennessee Aquarium to hold educational events throughout the week on the importance of water for aquarium visitors.
  • New Jersey American Water is hosting a number of activities in local schools to commemorate the event, including a school tour of a local water treatment plant, a series of memes developed by a school graphic design class to be used on social media channels, and a live demonstration (with backhoe!) of what goes into maintaining a water system.

So, what do you think would affect you the most in a day without water? Me personally? Bad breath, body odor and no flushing toilets – just a few smelly results of a day without water. I could probably get by with a day without water, but I wouldn’t want others around me to not have water…unless I had a severe head cold!


  • Mandeep Gupta says:

    Wonder full campaigning idea and making new generation well aware of the necessity of WATER. It may definitely improve the thoughts of students about water and improve the functioning/ operation of water treatment system. Non functioning/ faulty system may raise many questions from students. Managing water for large communities. Thinking without water makes horrible. Really powerful, message: water is essential to our livelihood.

  • Ann Alfano says:

    Dr. Water, thanks for a great article! I drink about a half gallon of tap water every day. There’s just no substitute for such a refreshing and inexpensive (about a penny per gallon) beverage. I could probably chew gum for the bad breath, spray on some cologne, and use the woods for the toilet (barring any poison ivy) … but I would have a hard time giving up my beverage of choice – tap water.