World Water Day 2023: Accelerating Change
On 22 March 2023, the Army joins the world in recognizing the importance of water to our Soldiers, missions, and communities by commemorating World Water Day and promoting this year’s theme: “Accelerating Change.”
Army resilience requires safe and reliably accessible water. In fiscal year 2022, Army installations used over 30.4 billion gallons of potable water and approximately 6.8 billion gallons of non-potable water. Water is critical not only for sustaining life, but also plays an essential role in Army missions such as industrial base manufacturing, equipment maintenance and operations, facility heating and cooling, firefighting, and land management.
The Army must continue to protect access to water from ever-increasing man-made and natural threats. It is now recognized that the homeland may no longer be a sanctuary, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrates that adversaries are willing to target civilian and military infrastructure. Additionally, many of the most immediate impacts from the changing climate will be felt in the water cycle, whether due to drought, flooding, sea level rise, or changes in water storage, such as snowpack. Drought compounds wildfire risks, threatening training land access and usability.
Many Army installations are at the forefront of water sustainability and resilience. In fiscal year 2022, the Army preserved drinking water by capturing, treating, and re-utilizing nearly 690 million gallons from alternative sources such as rainwater and re-treated water. The increasingly complex threat environment means the Army must continuously consider and improve how installations access, use, and re-use water. Accelerating change requires further innovation and partnerships with utilities, communities, regional groups, industry, academia, and research institutions.
Water resilience is vital to the accomplishment of the Army’s mission to fight and win the nation’s wars. It is everyone’s responsibility to recognize water’s importance to mission, and identify opportunities for conserving, protecting, and sustaining critical water resources. The Army of 2030 will be built upon today’s water management.