U.S. Water Alliance | June 26th, 2018
No matter who we are, where we live, or what we do, water is essential to our lives. It is life’s most precious resource, an indispensable ingredient for prosperity, pr
No matter who we are, where we live, or what we do, water is essential to our lives. It is life’s most precious resource, an indispensable ingredient for prosperity, progress, and well-being. Water challenges in the United States are vast and mounting—communities are suffering from poor water quality, drought, flooding, and more. Our water and wastewater infrastructure is aging and in urgent need of replacement and renewal. Our water systems are further stressed by increasingly unpredictable weather, sea level rise, and shifting populations.
The complex water challenges we face today cannot be solved solely by the approaches we have used in the past. Water leaders—utility managers, public officials, farmers, river keepers, business leaders, manufacturers, community leaders, philanthropy, and others—recognize that business as usual will not get us to a sustainable water future. Visionary water leaders are working to shift the paradigm of how water is viewed, valued, and managed.
They are taking a One Water approach, elevating water as a national priority, inspiring our collective imagination, and activating new solutions. Water leaders are increasingly turning to artists and cultural leaders to help bring visibility to water issues, create more inclusive and imaginative planning processes, and leverage infrastructure investments to provide additional benefits to the communities they serve. At the same time, many artists and cultural leaders have become increasingly aware of and engaged in the water issues facing their communities.
There is tremendous opportunity to utilize arts and culture strategies to advance sustainable, integrated, and inclusive management of our nation’s water resources. As creative thinkers and doers, artists can be powerful partners to water leaders seeking to reimagine traditional approaches to water planning and management, and connect with communities in new ways.
This report aims to help water leaders envision the various ways that arts and culture can advance One Water goals, and how they can most effectively partner with artists and cultural leaders. In addition to serving water leaders, we hope this document will provide artists and cultural leaders with insights on the priorities of the water sector and reveal synergies. By establishing a shared framework, we hope to enable increased collaboration between the water and arts sectors.
The report is organized in the following manner:
• Our Current Water Landscape provides a brief overview of the complex water related challenges that face our communities;
• A New Paradigm for Water: The One Water Approach describes how the water sector is embracing a more innovative, integrated, and inclusive approach to water management;
• Opportunities at the Intersection of Water, Arts, and Culture outlines seven ways that arts and culture can advance One Water goals;
• The Path Forward: Building Cross-Sector Capacity for Collaboration
offers recommendations for how we can seed and spread collaborations between arts, culture, and water leaders; and
• Art in Action presents eight case studies that demonstrate how arts and culture strategies are driving positive water related outcomes in communities across the country.