Water is the essence of life and vital to the well-being of every person, economy, and ecosystem on the planet. But around the globe and here in the United States, water challenges are mounting as climate change, population growth, and other drivers of water stress intensify. In the U.S. West, increasingly unreliable water supplies threaten nearly a third of the U.S. population and GDP. We cannot continue to operate with deteriorating infrastructure and outdated policies that compound water stress, jeopardizing human communities and freshwater ecosystems.
Over the past few years, philanthropy has taken action to address these challenges. Starting in the U.S. West, funders have supported approaches applicable to water crises across the nation and globe, while also looking to lessons from other regions to help develop transformative water-related solutions. This work has focused on six priority strategies for advancing water sustainability–detailed in Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy, which represents the input of over 140 stakeholders and the commitment of Water Table members.
The good news is that right now, philanthropy has a window of opportunity to dramatically improve the way water is managed for people and the environment. To capitalize on this, funders working together at the Water Table are launching a Water Campaign to foster new partnerships, expand the field of water philanthropy, and ultimately increase philanthropic, public, and private funding for transformative water-related solutions.
Water Table funders are initiating this campaign to accelerate progress towards a shared vision for a sustainable water future, focused on two overarching goals:
Bring basins and watersheds into balance for people and nature.
We must conserve and protect our water supply and quality so that, over the long term, there is clean water to support healthy communities, vibrant ecosystems, and thriving economies.
Strengthen resilience of watersheds and water systems in a 21st century climate.
Extremes are becoming the norm as the planet warms, and many impacts of climate change will manifest through water systems. Water management must be flexible and resilient enough to mitigate risks from hotter, drier conditions and more frequent and severe weather events so that urban and rural communities, agriculture, industry, and ecosystems can adapt to these changes and thrive.
To kick off the campaign, Water Table funders have committed more than $100 million to transformative water-related solutions, toward a $150 million goal, with the aim of leveraging multiples of that funding from other private and public partners.