Global Water Summit

April 25, 2024

Diving into Sustainability: Swimmable Rivers at the Global Water Summit 2024

London played host to a congregation of blue-minds, hearts, and ambitions last week at the Global Water Summit 2024. Water experts and leaders from across the globe came together to help steer towards sustainable water management. And in the midst, a new way of communicating this challenge: Swimmable Rivers.

The summit, a significant event full of knowledge exchange and networking, provided a platform for Swimmable Rivers to showcase its project and share invaluable insights on fostering swimmability. From technical solutions to psychological nuances, every aspect of urban swimming was touched upon, highlighting the holistic approach needed to transform our waterways.

But what were the key takeaways for Swimmable Rivers?

One recurring notion was the public’s disengagement with the water crisis demands a fresh approach to communication. Swimmable Rivers emerged as one of these fresh approaches to bridge the gap between communities and their waterways.

Moreover, the summit shed light on a lesser-known threat: while sewage overflows have long been known as a contaminant for urban water bodies, the idea of droughts contributing to contamination issues is lesser known. During droughts, the presence of E. coli bacteria, a bacteria full of health hazards, rises significantly, making the water quality unsuitable for swimming.

However, even with these challenges, Swimmable Rivers saw hope and exciting swimming initiatives. From local London politicians to the mayor of Lisbon, from Melbourne to Milan, cities around the world are embracing the call for action, with concrete plans to improve their waterways for swimming.

On Thursday, just before we headed back to Amsterdam, we had the pleasure to talk with Chris Romer-Lee. A very inspiring morning during which we discussed the Thames Baths initiative, Swimmable Rivers, and potential collaborations. A testament to the boundless opportunities awaiting those committed to the cause of improving urban waterways.

The journey towards Swimmable Rivers has only just begun. And as Swimmable Rivers continues to enable the transformation of urban waterways, one thing remains clear: there is much work to be done, but the currents of change are already in motion. 🙂


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