Where does water come from? Will we run out of it? Who decides how much water we can use? Is there something we can do? In order to “connecting the dots” and enhancing the understanding of the general public on how we use and manage our freshwater resources,  the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (UN WWAP) of UNESCO together with its Partners produced a unique project called “The Water Rooms”.

“The Water Rooms” consists of a visionary and inspirational itinerary of 5 short animated movies intertwined by 5 monologues that trigger interest and encourage learning about freshwater resources and their responsible management in the context of sustainable development. The itinerary revolves around the leitmotiv “discover, understand and change”. In the first two “rooms” we discover the physical movement and distribution of water; in the third and fourth “rooms” we understand how the resource is connected with socioeconomic issues, environmental aspects, and how it depends on decision-making processes; in the fifth and last “room” we look at water as a potential source of conflict/cooperation, while being confronted with the individual choices and options for change that will determine how our future will look like.

The Water Rooms” builds on the findings of the United Nations World Water Development Report (UN WWDR) 2015 “Water for a Sustainable World”. The initiative inaugurates a new outreach approach in WWAP’s strategy aiming at enhancing the dissemination of the messages of the WWDRs and exemplifying the complex interlinkages between water and food, energy, environment and development, and the competing uses – and users – of this precious resource.



Led and administrated by UNESCO, the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) is tasked to assess, report and monitoring on the state, use and management of the world’s freshwater resources. WWAP coordinates the work of 31 Members and 37 Partners of UN-Water in the annual production of the authoritative World Water Development Report (WWDR), the UN’s flagship report on water. The 2015 edition of the WWDR is dedicated to “Water for a Sustainable World”.

WWAP seeks to equip water managers and key decision-makers with information, data and skills necessary to effectively contribute to the development of relevant policies for sustainable water resources management. It also disseminates knowledge about emerging issues and challenges through a number of products, tools and activities.

Since 2006, WWAP is funded by the Italian Government together with Umbria Region and its Secretariat is based in Perugia, Italy.”


A 3-day write-shop bringing together science and arts

An important milestone of the Initiative’s preparatory process was marked on 21-22-23 January 2015 when a large “write-shop” was held at UN WWAP UNESCO premises in Italy, gathering more than 80 participants from all over the world.
The meeting represented an unprecedented effort to bring together representatives of Academia, Donor Organizations, NGOs, UN Agencies, private sector, civil society, youth and women networks, renowned movie Studios, animators, journalists and authors to develop the content and modalities for the production of the five short movies and five monologues at the core of the project.

The event was conceived to be ‘boundary breaking’ between the scientific community and the creative world. The Initiative gave a unique opportunity for this collaboration to happen and pursue the common goal: communicating sound scientific evidences and notions through the very incisive mediums of film, animation and written word. To participants that were not able to attend the event in person, was given the chance to take part in the discussions through video conferencing.


The journey finally began on Monday 21 September 2015 at the prestigious Auditorium of the Italian Pavilion inside Expo Milan! The five videos and five monologues of “The Water Rooms” were screened and performed live for the first time during a high-level launching event.

Representatives from UNESCO, the Italian Ministry of Environment, Unilever and other partner organizations together with eminent international experts introduced the initiative and guided the audience through this unique event. Exceptional music performances dedicated to water enriched the program thanks to the presence of world-famous musicians Guo Gan and Wolfgang David together with composer Anthony De Ritis. The show was closed by a passionate performance by songwriter Shishani accompanied by the duo Armonite.
The event was organized in the framework of the celebrations for the 70th UNESCO Anniversary, the commemoration of the International Day of Peace, and was part of the official initiatives under the UN Zero Hunger Challenge for Expo 2015.

© UNESCO 2016

WWAP Secretariat - Programme Office for Global Water Assessment
Division of Water Sciences, UNESCO - Villa La Colombella, Perugia - Italy - Tel: +39 075 59 11 01 - Email: wwap@unesco.org