Why a Global Network of Water Museums?

Water museums exhibit and interpret, all around the world, a unique repository of different forms of water civilization, both natural and cultural, tangible and intangible, made of artefacts, techniques, and oral knowledge, with the aim to preserve and promote outstanding hydraulic heritage. Indeed, every civilization has passed down through generations an invaluable knowledge and heritage related to water.
Today water museums urged to communicate the value of such water heritage to large audiences in a more coordinated way, in order to better understand the global water crises and its possible solutions way

Institutions play a leading role in tackling the challenges of the local water crisis. Many water museums are already active in communicating the urgency of defying common perceptions for more sustainable water use. Nonetheless, water museums often operate in isolated contexts. The need to exchange experience and best practices can be ensured only through a larger network.

Through the Global Network, new water perceptions, attitudes, behaviours, and more sustainable water management models are better promoted for the emergence of a new water civilization. Calling on people and institutions to implement urgent actions to repair our deteriorated relationship with the most precious liquid element and source of all life.



The role of Water Museums facing the World Water Crisis

The challenges of growing water scarcity, exhaustion of resources, water pollution, desertification, melting glaciers and recurrent floods due to climate change, with the consequent dramatic reduction of biological and cultural diversity and the exodus of entire populations, seem not to be resolvable only through technocratic approaches.
During the last decades, technocratic vision conceived and used water mainly as a means to afford unprecedented economic development at a global level. Simultaneously, however, the liquid element has been made more and more invisible, that is, far from people’s awareness, a condition which makes water more vulnerable than ever.

The need to reinterpret our inherited and multiple “water worlds” for a new vision concerning water management is extremely challenging. Holistic, multidisciplinary and innovative perspectives are essential to overcome purely the technocratic approaches to begin building a new water culture for more sustainable water uses.



Mission and Goals of the Global Network

The Global Network is an initiative aimed at calling on authorities and citizens who believe wholeheartedly in preserving all waters, together with their cultural and historical dimensions: those dimensions which still may narrate evocatively the special and unique relationship of humanity with this most precious source of life.

The mission of the Global Network is to provide an impetus to connecting past and present water uses, heritage and management practices with future needs: that is, paving the way for a paradigm change in water management. The Global Network is indeed active to reinstate a new relationship between humanity and water: a new “sense of civilization” which helps to reconnect people with the liquid element, in all its dimensions, including social, cultural, artistic and spiritual dimensions.

Goal of the Global Network is to foster and support new visions and approaches related to more sustainable water uses in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and UNESCO-IHP (International Hydrological Programme) activities.

UNESCO Resolution

The Global Network of Water Museums is a “UNESCO-IHP initiative”, according to the Resolution n. XXIII-5 formally approved by the IHP Intergovernmental Council in 2018, June 15th. Please find the Resolution here.

Supplementary information

Our goal is to become an innovative “agent of transformation” in the global water debate and a channel to communicate SDGs and the present water challenges to new audiences. Do you want to know more about the Global Network of Water Museums?

PDF: Manifesto

PDF: Resolution