Water Funder Initiative Statement on the White House Water Summit

The Water Funder Initiative (WFI), a collaborative effort to identify and activate promising water solutions through strategic philanthropic investments, applauds the White House’s commitment to advancing water sustainability through today’s Water Summit and its memorandum on drought resilience.

To coincide with World Water Day, WFI is today releasing Toward Water Sustainability: A Blueprint for Philanthropy to guide and inspire efforts to make our water systems more balanced, resilient, and sustainable in the 21st century. Many of the blueprint’s recommendations, such as improving water data, developing healthy water markets, strengthening communications, accelerating innovation, and building the water field’s capacity, are echoed in the White House’s March 21 memorandum to federal agencies and will be discussed at today’s summit.

“We applaud the White House commitment to water sustainability,” said Susan Bell, Managing Director of WFI. “Water challenges are mounting around the globe. There are many promising solutions, but we are underinvesting at every level.”

This blueprint, available at waterfunder.org, describes the need and opportunity for philanthropic action on water at a scale never before attempted in the water field.  “Funders of all types—from individual donors to community foundations to the largest philanthropies—can play a crucial role in addressing 21st century water challenges and help ensure that cities, farms, rural residents, and wildlife all have access to the clean water they need to thrive in a changing climate,” according to the blueprint.

Project Water Data

One of the blueprint’s six priority strategies focuses on driving water management decisions with the best available data. WFI is proud to support the launch of Project Water Data, an effort to work with federal, state, and local governments, as well as private- and social-sector partners, to modernize data systems that support healthy communities, thriving agricultural systems, and clean waterways for wildlife.

With seed funding provided by WFI’s philanthropic partners, and with support from the Association of California Water Agencies, the City of Los Angeles, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Environmental Defense Fund, DC Water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, Northern California Water Association, the State and Federal Contractors Water Agency, The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, the Aspen Institute, and others, Project Water Data will:

Mobilize a coalition to highlight the value of open, integrated water data in supporting better decision-making and citizen engagement and develop core principles for open and integrated water data systems.

Unlock water data from all sectors and develop products that increase the discoverability, usability, and interoperability of data.

The Water Funder Initiative

WFI is supported and guided by the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Energy Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pisces Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, and Water Foundation.

WFI is not a grantmaking institution and does not accept proposals. For more information on WFI, please visit waterfunder.org, which provides the full blueprint, an executive summary, graphics, and other resources.

Contact:  Susan Bell, Managing Director, Water Funder Initiative, 650-799-0234, susan@susanbellassociates.com