Imagining An Entire Day Without Water

Most Americans take water for granted. They turn on the tap, and clean water flows out; flush the toilet, and dirty water goes away. Most Americans hardly think about the infrastructure systems that brings water to homes, and safely returns water to the environment – but everyone should. 

The reality is, the nation's water infrastructure is aging and failing. Somewhere in America, a water main breaks every two minutes. While most Americans cannot imagine a day without water, there are many communities that have lived - and are living - without access to clean, safe water because they lack reliable water systems. The longer we wait to fix our water infrastructure to meet today’s demands and tomorrow's challenges, the more likely it is that additional Americans will experience the crisis of going a day without water.  

On October 10, 2018, hundreds of organizations and thousands of people that care about water will come together for Imagine a Day Without Water, a national day of action dedicated to raising awareness about the value of water and the need to invest in our water and wastewater infrastructure.  

Sign up at to get involved, or follow the conversation on social media at #ValueWater. We can all be a part of the conversation, and together push our communities and nation's leadership to invest in our water systems, so no American ever has to go a day without water. 

SOURCE: Radhika Fox, Director, The Value of Water Campaign 

There is no question that water has been, and still very much is, a big part of my life. I feel like I have a special relationship with water – from the feeling of being immersed in it, pushing beyond its strength as it’s challenged me, to the calm state that allows me to float, relax, and recalibrate my body and mind.

Outside of the pool, I’ve been focusing on water safety for children through the Michael Phelps Foundation. Last year, I took on the role of global ambassadorship for the Save Water initiative started by Colgate, the maker of so many of the products we use every day that require water use – including toothpaste and toothbrushes.

I’ve been to six continents and dozens of countries, and have seen the value of water in everything that everyone on this planet does. It’s shown me first-hand what we’ve all been hearing about for years – water is a precious resource, and it’s one that’s in danger.

Since retiring from competitive swimming, I’ve spent more time with my wife and our two young sons. That’s also helped me realize just how vital water is not only for us now, but also for the next generation. So now that I’m out of the water, I’m working to help preserve it, because I know that every drop counts.

In many parts of the U.S., we can take water’s availability for granted. We turn on the faucet to brush our teeth, and — boom — there’s clean water. But that’s not the case for many people.

Taking initiative

For instance, it's not well-known that you can waste the equivalent of 64 glasses of water if you leave the water running for just two minutes each time you brush your teeth. (I didn’t realize it was that much either!) The good news is that each of us as individuals, families and community members can help play a role in water conservation. And some special people are already doing innovative things to help.

As part of Colgate’s ambassadorship, I helped introduce three online docu-shorts called “Tales of Two Minutes,” that feature inspiring water conservation stories from people in California, Ohio and Arizona. They’ve inspired me, and I hope they inspire you too. You can find them on the ‘Colgate US’ page on YouTube.

I encourage each of us to be more mindful of the unique resource that water is and to consider ways to preserve it. It can begin with an act as simple as turning off the faucet when you brush and telling others to do the same. Together, we can help make a difference today while also impacting future generations. After all, every drop counts.