The Water Bearers: Exclusive Interview with Xylem Watermark and Mercy Corps

In his message for World Water Day 2014, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recognized the importance of access to clean water in "our efforts to build stable societies and lives of dignity for all," specifically calling for "innovative strategies." Here's one partnership that has been successful in answering that call

Since 2008, the partnership between Xylem Watermark, the corporate citizenship and social investment program of Xylem (NYSE:XYL), a global water technology provider, and Mercy Corps, an international aid and development agency, has responded to 22 water-related disasters. In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, for example, they helped provide more than 5 million liters of clean water to families in need. In Japan, they helped restore the livelihoods of hundreds of fish-farming families. During the drought in the Horn of Africa, they helped provide over 2 million liters of clean water.

In 2011 and 2012, they supported disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects in China, Colombia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal and Tajikistan. Proactively preparing for water-related emergencies before they happen, these DRR initiatives have included managing floodplains, engineering barriers along river banks and building bridges to evacuate frequently flooded areas.

I had a chance to ask Michael Fields, Director of Corporate Citizenship at Xylem, and Michael Bowers, Senior Director of Strategic Response and Global Emergencies at Mercy Corps, a few questions about this important partnership, the effect of climate change on water-related disasters, the challenges of working in conflict zones and what makes them optimistic about the future.

Read the interview at:

image credit: Adam Bacher for Mercy Corps, Haiti

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Tags: Change, Climate, Corps, Mercy, Watermark, Xylem, conflict, disaster, refugee, sanitation, More…security, water, zone


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