Walk for Water

A community event with a global focus

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Be warned that if you decide to take a late-morning stroll along the waterfront trail system connecting historic Fairhaven to Boulevard Park this coming Sunday, you might have to edge your way around a horde of humans carrying gallon jugs full of water.

Rather than avoid those who are making the excursion encumbered by additional weight, it might behoove you to join them. You see, they’ll be taking part in the “Walk for Water,” an annual event put on by the City of Bellingham that draws attention to World Water Day. The 2.3-mile walk—which begins and ends at the Fairhaven Village Green—symbolizes the distance women and children around the world frequently travel to collect water for household use.

In addition to being made aware of what it feels like to lug heavy liquids far distances, intentional and unintentional participants on the trail system will also encounter a water tasting station and signs posted along the way with facts and action items regarding this year’s World Water Day focus, “Water and Energy.”

“In tune with this year’s event theme, I’m hopeful that we have more people aware of the no-cost and low-cost actions they can take to save water and energy at their homes and businesses,” Public Works Water Conservation Specialist Anitra Acceturro says. “I’d like to see more sign-ups for the Community Energy Challenge, water conservation rebate application submittals, and people leaving with new nuggets of knowledge about the water-energy nexus.”
Some of the water- and energy-saving tips Acceturro points to include common-sense suggestions such as taking shorter showers, washing laundry with cold water instead of hot and investing in tanks to collect rainwater for future use, but she says the event also draws attention to the fact that water is needed to produce energy—and it takes energy to produce our drinking water.

“Water and energy are interconnected, and by combining some of our program efforts, we maximize our outreach, are more efficient with staff time (as well as the public’s time), and ultimately result in greater savings of these resources,” Acceturro says. “Collaboration between water and energy programs is a much-needed and recommended approach to long-term, sustainable use of these resources, as is frequently stated by national studies and this World Water Day theme.”

She says feedback and attendance from previous Walk for Water excursions have shown that people take part in the event to support how important they think clean, safe drinking water really is. Many attendees put on their walking shoes and take to the South Bay Trail to show their appreciation that we have that here, but Acceturro adds it’s also to pay respect to those around the globe that don’t.

“I am so utterly proud to live in and work for this community,” Acceturro says. “People here truly have an intrinsic value of the conservation, protection and restoration of our water and other resources—as well as huge, humanitarian hearts.”

And, true to the ethos of the day, the Walk for Water will take place regardless of whether storm clouds are brewing or if the day dawns bright and clear.

“Rain or shine, walkers and signs will be out,” Acceturro says. “While I always cross my fingers for sunshine, when it has rained, I like to think it’s just to connect us even more to what we’re out there supporting and giving thanks to.”

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