We Are Water Foundation


We Are Water Blog

2015 March 26
  • The We Are Water Foundation organised the international workshop ‘Social Perceptions of Water and Climate’
  • Based on the last report from the IPCC, new communicative challenges on how to pass on their conclusions to the general public were discussed 
Climate change as a communication challenge

Coinciding with the World Climate Day, which is celebrated every 26th March, the We Are Water Foundation shares the conclusions of the workshop Social Perceptions of Water and Climate that took place on the 19th and 20th March at the Roca Barcelona Gallery. This meeting, which gathered renowned meteorologists from around the world, was organised in conjunction with the IABM (International Association of Broadcast Meteorology) and with Tomàs Molina, meteorologist, journalist and member of the IABM in Spain, as the content director. 

Speakers included Dr. Jean Pascale Van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the IPCC, who dealt with the news on the report AR5 IPCC; Michael Williams, Head of Communication and Public Affairs of the WMO (World Meteorology Organisation), who spoke about how to spread the news on climate change; and Professor Ernst Rauch, Director of the Corporate Climate Centre of Munich-Re, who talked about climate change from the perspective of numbers. Other participants were Xavier Torras, Director of the We Are Water Foundation, Ana Redondo, External Relations Coordinator of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation; and Antoni Pérez, Programme Manager at Save the Children. 

In this regard, the following main conclusions can be highlighted: 

Jean Pascale van Ypersele: conclusions of the report AR5 of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

- The influence of man on the global warming of the planet is clear:

-       Changes in sea water level: an increase of aprox. 20 cm in the last century.  

-       80% of the glaciers are in retreat.

-       Arctic sea ice is in long-term decline.

- More greenhouse gasses mean an increase in temperature and more severe impacts of climate change

- There are opportunities to integrate mitigation, adaptation and other societal objectives:

-       Humanity has the means to limit climate change and build a more sustainable and resilient future.

Ernst Rauch: The perspective of numbers

- Loss events related to climate have increased significantly in the last 30 years.

- Increased financial losses can in part be explained by social or economic factors; however, the signal of climate change is evident in some regions.  

- Low-income countries suffer especially from natural catastrophes (e.g. Vanuatu recently).

- Climate change will not go away. We in our generation have the responsibility to address this.


Michael Williams: Weather broadcasters as communicators of climate change

- Weather broadcasters communicate important information on certain events.

- Many weather presenters interact with experts in climatology in their own countries to help explain the likely evolution to their peoples.

- Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of United Nations, and other major figures believe in the value of using weather presenters to communicate climate change information.


Among the participants of this international workshop were: Mónica López, Director of the Meteorology Department at TVE and presenter of EL TIEMPO (The weather) at the News 2 (La 1-TVE), Gerald Fleming, Forecasting Director at Met Éireann (Ireland); Inge Niedek, weather presenter and Head of the Meteorology Department at ZDF, National Television of Germany; Desislava Banova, weather presenter at Nova and Climate Ambassador in Bulgaria; Yoko Komagata, weather presenter at Japan´s television; Mauricio Saldivar, meteorologist and scientific adviser in Argentina, among many others.   

The different meteorologists worked in closed sessions to share their experiences individually and with an open debate in the second part. The two topics addressed in the afternoon sessions were: “Water in times of trouble” and “Public awareness on climate change”, respectively. 

2015 March 19

The We Are Water Foundation raises awareness on such an important date on the new water culture with actions around the world

More than one in ten world inhabitants does not have access to an improved water source

“Water and sustainable development” is this year´s theme on the World Water Day, which is celebrated every 22 March after being created by the United Nations in 1993. The We Are Water Foundation carries out, on such an important date, different actions to raise awareness in many countries, with the aim of achieving a new water culture. Nowadays, 750 million people live with a major lack of access to clean water and 2500 million people do not have basic sanitation. 

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has declared in his message on World Water Day that “We depend on water for public health and equitable progress, and water is essential for food and energy security, and it supports the performance of industries” and to this regard he has added “To eliminate the various problems related to water, we need to work in a spirit of urgent cooperation, with an open mind to new ideas and innovation, and being able to share the solutions that we all need for a sustainable future”.    

Water resources play a key role in the reduction of poverty, in economic growth and also in the sustainability of the environment. Xavier Torras, Director of the We Are Water Foundation, has declared: “It is our responsibility to improve such a complicated situation and through cooperation it is possible to turn the figures around”. 

For all these reasons, the We Are Water Foundation has organised the Workshop Social Perceptions of Water and Climate, at the Roca Barcelona Gallery, with meteorologists from around the world gathering to discuss the difficulties encountered to communicate the climate change in their own countries, as well as to search for joint solutions. Organised in two days, with talks in the morning and discussion sessions in the afternoon, it has highlighted the importance of water in many areas and how sustainable development and climate change affect areas as diverse as displaced persons, economic activities such as agriculture or the management of water resources in cities. 

Among all the activities carried out by the We Are Water Foundation these days we highlight the roundtable celebrated on Tuesday 17 March at the Roca Madrid Gallery under the name “Water and Sustainable Development”. Also, under the slogan “With you, a fair distribution of water is possible”, a wall painting has been installed in different parts of the world representing a world map with grey dots that need to be filled with water drops. The aim is to cover the surface of the planet to defend the right to water which is still unattainable for millions of people. 

In Spain this action will take place simultaneously at the Roca Madrid Gallery, at the Corte Inglés Princesa department store in Madrid, at the Roca Barcelona Gallery and at the Portal de la Pau in Barcelona, beside the set of the Barcelona World Race. 

2015 March 18
  • The solid multidisciplinary formation of the skippers makes a two crew round-the-world trip like the Barcelona World Race possible.
  • Climatology, meteorology, medicine and engineering are essential in single-handed and two-crew sailing.
  • Organisation aboard an IMOCA 60 shows an analogy with the projects of the We Are Water Foundation which takes water and sanitation to deprived areas with the aim of sustainability.
Sustainability is education

Just before and shortly after turning the mythical Cape Horn, the We Are Water crossed the meridians of the projects of Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Brazil. In these as in all the Foundation’s projects, training is essential to achieve their sustainability. The beneficiaries, who in many cases participate directly in the work, are later those who must ensure the management and maintenance of the installations or work programmes. This means that the entire project must be accompanied by a long-term educational programme which is essential for guaranteeing its sustainability. Training, understood as the result of a long-term educational programme, is also the starting point of the programmes that have a direct bearing on hygiene and healthiness, and on the recovery of the water cycle in areas punished by erosion or unsuitable agricultural and livestock breeding methods.

Without training there is no efficient management, and without efficient management there is no sustainability and the results of aid cannot last in time. This principle can be applied to ocean sailing that has interesting analogies with the development of training in the projects.

Theoretical and practical multidisciplinary training

An ocean yachtsman who sets off on a regatta alone or two-crew must possess a very high level of knowledge to handle efficiently the complex "smart city" that an IMOCA 60 such as the We Are Water is, completing the round-the-world trip and finishing the Barcelona World Race. It is a metaphor applicable to the philosophy of the Foundation’s aid projects.

In fact, Bruno and Willy García have extensive theoretical and practical training in a wide range of disciplines and techniques. This know-how enables them to manage any activity themselves related to sailing and survival, and makes them self-sufficient except for food which is the only thing that, in a sporting contest, must be provided from the outside.

Firstly, they must have an in-depth knowledge of meteorology. The knowledge of this science in constant evolution is the basis of not only sporting success in the regatta but also their own safety. Planning a round-the-world sailing trip is firstly climatic: the team must forecast what general conditions it is going to experience throughout the route and prepare the factors that depend on them. Any planning of the activities on board depends on the weather forecast: the frequency of manoeuvres, the order of stowage of the sails, energy consumption, guard standbys, clothing and food.

Later, when sailing, meteorology becomes a central question of life on board. Yachtsmen must have, firstly, deep theoretical knowledge that enables them to understand and forecast the evolution of the meteorological systems that they encounter along the way; but later they must act in consequence, appropriately interpreting the signs of the sophisticated computer programmes that make up the meteorological data with the specifications of speed of their boat. This means knowing how to handle the communication systems via satellite, the navigational software and electronics on board.

If the electronics cannot fail – and the circuits and connections have many adverse factors in a constantly humid atmosphere, as well as being threatened by saltpetre – neither can the electricity. In their sailing routine, Bruno and Willy check the state of the batteries every day and test how consumption and charging is going. This is when the forecast for the charge from the hydro-generators comes into play, the source of clean energy that all the boats in the Barcelona World Race have and which enables them to do without the engine-alternator to the maximum.

The yachtsmen of the Barcelona World Race also have to be able to repair the majority of the breakdowns that continually occur when sailing. This means they must know about electricity, mechanics and chemistry. The must be capable of repairing a water purifier (see the newsletter), or an alternator, as well as stick a torn sail or laminate with polyester resin an imperfection in the hull.

They must also have a good knowledge of medicine, know how to act quickly in case of a personal accident on board and diagnose an illness. These actions on the We Are Water are ensured by Bruno García, cardiologist by profession, but for the other skippers this knowledge is essential, as well as knowing how to establish a tele-medical consultation and use the Medicine at Distance Guide they have on board.

In contrast to the regattas with crew, which is made up of a team of specialists, in single-handed or two-crew sailing a high level of multidisciplinary training is essential, so that each yachtsman must literally “know how to do everything and do it well”.

Bruno and Willy show us each day on the We Are Water that their model is applicable to any project however complex the application of the solutions may be. With education and training wells can emerge from the desert, woods be regenerated and water collected in time for the dry season. They can avoid illnesses, empower women and slow down undignified migratory processes. The training that makes Bruno and Willy free to sail around the world also makes free and dignified those who need water and sanitation.

Remember that you can follow the Argo buoy that Bruno and Willy García launched at the We Are Water buoy page.

The We Are Water has left behind the southern latitudes and is sailing in the Atlantic. In fourth place, Bruno and Willy are about 3,800 miles from the finishing line. The message is still going around the world (go to the meridians page).

About the We Are Water Foundation

The We Are Water Foundation, promoted by the Roca company, has as objectives, on the one hand, to raise awareness amongst the general public and the administrations about the need to promote a new culture of water and, on the other hand, relieve the negative effects related to the lack of hydric resources, through the development of cooperation and aid programmes alongside diverse organisations such as Education without Frontiers, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, Intermón Oxfam and UNICEF.

2015 March 4
  • Water and energy, also inseparable in the sea
  • The We Are Water constitutes a lab for testing and developing new technologies to obtain clean energy.
  • Bruno and Willy García embody the citizens of the future who through ICT manage their resources sustainably.
A smart city around the world

Without energy there is no water and without water there is no energy”. This principle, which was almost a slogan among experts from the water and energy sector, gathered at the 2014 Annual Conference of UN-Water held in Zaragoza last year (see the newsletter), is an absolute truth on board the We Are Water on its trip around the world. While the Foundation’s boat crossed the meridian of the Philippines project, Bruno and Willy García, its skippers, were anxious about the correct functioning of the water purifier on board, their only source of water. In the Indian Ocean, this had given them problems that they solved by themselves (see the newsletter) and at that moment, about to enter the South Pacific, they were ready to sail through the area of the Earth furthest away from human life, which is where they are now.

But in these inhospitable, cold and dangerous seas, the attention must be focused on another factor beyond water: electrical energy; without it, the only possibility of obtaining water on board is through the manual operating of the pump that propels the seawater into the purifier and provides the necessary pressure to produce the desalination by reverse osmosis. Manual operation, however, is very low in performance: you have to make more than 1,200 turns of the hand lever to obtain one litre of water. Thus, at a rhythm of one second per turn you need to 20 minutes to obtain a litre of water and, therefore, 100 minutes for the minimum 5 litres necessary for drinking and hydrating the lyophilised food. If this happens in tropical zones, the sweat produced by the intense effort needed to the hand lever may upset the hydric balance.

The value of each amp

In the South Pacific, the We Are Water has completed more than 13,000 miles sailed. This means 65% of the regatta. During this time electrical energy consumption of the boat has been approximately 12 amps per day. Of these, 6-7 amps have been used so that the purifier produces the 6-7 litres (5 as a minimum) of water, which is what is planned for consumption by the García brothers during the regatta.

Smart City 1

One amp per litre, a disproportionate proportion if we compare it with the electrical energy required so that water reaches the regular sanitation systems in cities and rural areas, which is much less. We should realise, however, that behind this amp per litre in the We Are Water is a technological development that aims to achieve sources of renewable energy that enable the purifier and the other electronic systems to work without burning a single gram of fuel; a technology that fully enters into the line of sustainable development that is the route map set after World Water Day 2014 which was held under the exact title of Water and Energy.

The yachtsman, in the heart of the ICT, works with a model of sustainable management

In this sense, the We Are Water, like all the boats in the Barcelona World Race, uses hydro-generators to avoid as much as possible the use of the alternator of the motor to charge the batteries. They are small spirals that submerge on the stern on the side of the rudder posts and, if the speed of the boat is suitable (about 15 knots on average), it can provide almost all the amperage necessary to charge the batteries. The Barcelona World Race has set as a goal to achieve a “zero emissions” round the world race in the near future ". This goal has been taken up by the IMOCA (International Monohull Open Class Association), the class that the boats competing in the Barcelona World Race belong to.

In this way, the boats from the IMOCA class and its regattas are not only laboratories of technological innovation but also radical test benches of their applications. Ensuring that the electricity necessary for a yacht to go round the world without consuming the 250-300 litres of diesel, which would normally be needed to charge the batteries with the motor, is an objective that has already been achieved with a combination of solar panels, hydro-generators and windmills.

On this path towards renewable energies, the yachtsman manages the energy and water using ICT models (Information and Communication Technologies) at a reduced scale that enables them to know at all times the energy balance of their boat. As states Jordi Barinaga, engineer and designer of the systems of the We Are Water, "In the end, at the heart of all ICT systems it is the yachtsman who makes it smart".

Smart City 2

It is a model that is applicable not only to cities, but also to the plans to recover areas deprived by the action of natural disasters, such as the Haiyan typhoon, in which the storm razed both the sanitation and the systems of electrical energy distribution. The recovery of these devastated areas is based on the integration of each of the inhabitants into the management model of hydric resources. This is the best guarantee so that the effort of recovery generates sustainable infrastructures, such as that being undertaken by World Vision with the collaboration of the We Are Water Foundation in the Philippine province of Leyte, the area most damaged by the terrible typhoon. Efficient management involves training, and it is the trained people who can thus guarantee the sustainability of any system. Bruno and Willy García are teaching us every day in the Barcelona World Race.

Remember that you can follow the Argo buoy that Bruno and Willy García launched at the We Are Water buoy page.

About the We Are Water Foundation

The We Are Water Foundation, promoted by the Roca company, has as objectives, on the one hand, to raise awareness amongst the general public and the administrations about the need to promote a new culture of water and, on the other hand, relieve the negative effects related to the lack of hydric resources, through the development of cooperation and aid programmes alongside diverse organisations such as Education without Frontiers, the Vicente Ferrer Foundation, Intermón Oxfam and UNICEF.

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