What Is The Water Heroes Academy?
There are all sorts of innovative ways in which the issues of water stress and scarcity are being addressed around the world… and one of these is the Water Heroes Academy, a global network of youth-led projects with one aim in mind: to tackle water challenges in local communities using football as a conduit for doing so.
Back in 2018, Xylem – a smart technology water solutions provider – teamed up with Manchester City, Manchester City Women and New York City FC to help deliver a better, more water-secure world under the banner of the City Football Group, connecting with millions of fans worldwide.
The idea is that by offering access to different clubs around the world, this partnership will help to create global awareness and drive local impact, inspiring the next generation of football fans to rethink their views on water usage and consumption.
Experts are now predicting that there will be insufficient water to meet our needs by the year 2045, something that the Environment Agency has declared a very real “existential threat”.
The hope is that by demonstrating how water complacency could affect the hugely popular game of football, it will help to raise awareness and draw attention to this increasingly urgent crisis.
Of course, anyone can be a Water Hero and help ease pressure on water supplies, keeping the risk of drought at bay.
By pledging to be a Water Hero, you are making a commitment to take shorter showers instead of baths, to turn the tap off while brushing your teeth, to eat less red meat, to wear sustainable clothing and to report burst water pipes to your local water utility company.
By pledging, you could even win a signed Manchester City football shirt and a Raheem Sterling garden gnome… which is certainly an excellent added incentive, if you’re a City fan.
To help further the cause, the partnership is now working to support a network of 100 young leaders to use the sport as a way of providing essential water education to 5,000 young people in five cities around the world.
The programme uses educational tools, mentoring, training and seed funding to ensure that participants are provided with everything they need to set up their own specific water programmes to tackle the water-related issues they face.
For example, young leaders in Mumbai, New York, São Paulo, Shanghai and Cape Town will work towards identifying water challenges in their cities and see how football could be used creatively to engage and educate people on the various issues.
A Water Hero Playbook has also been published to help draw attention to drought and suggest simple everyday actions that could be taken by individuals, as well as public officials and industry players, to protect the future of football and the future of the planet.
There are a range of tips included in the book, such as going meat-free at least one day a week, a relatively easy way to reduce your water consumption given that the average daily water usage of a meat eater is 5,000 litres, compared to 2,500 for a vegetarian.
Another potential way to save water and reduce your water footprint is to consider installing a rainwater harvesting system, either at home or at your place of business – or both!
A storage tank can see domestic properties save 50 per cent of their annual household water usage, which is 24,000 litres or thereabouts… enough to keep one football player fully hydrated for two seasons.
Water Hero case studies
The 2020 Water Goals project in Bangalore has successfully engaged more than 10,000 young people thus far, with 200 young leaders trained in life-saving lessons on water and empowered to deliver football-based education about how important clean water and sanitation is in their communities.
Clean water filtration towers have also been installed in four schools, in partnership with the Planet Water Foundation. These towers were set up in 2019 and 2020, bringing together City fans in India and around the world, Club legend Paul Dickov, Xylem volunteers and local community leaders on the ground.
In 2018, a team from Xylem joined the rescue mission to help 12 boys from the Wild Boars Thai junior football team and their coach after they were trapped deep in a cave system for over two weeks.
The Xylem contingent offered expert advice and expertise to help lower water levels, which led to the successful recovery of the team. Some five months later, Xylem and Manchester City Football Club returned to the region and trained the young footballers, as well as helping tackle local water accessibility issues in the community by installing a clean drinking water tower.
In Cape Coast in Ghana, meanwhile, Young Leaders are working to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene – important given Unicef research showing that 76 per cent of households in the country face risks of drinking water contaminated with faecal matter.
Emmanuella, one Young Leader, said: “Our main challenge is water scarcity.
In this community, we don’t get easy access to potable water, so every morning children walk and get water from the well to do their household chores, before preparing for school.”
As well as using football to teach young people about water and sanitation education, this project will see communities provided with equipment to deliver clean water access for residents.
Are you thinking of switching water supplier at the moment? Get in touch with H2o Building Services today to see how we can help you make the move and reduce your water footprint at the same time.