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AWWA, Colgate talk sustainability at UN Plaza event

An international panel of leaders in sustainable water use, including David LaFrance, CEO of the American Water Works Association (AWWA), promoted water conservation and climate action this week at the United Nations Plaza in New York. (Photos courtesy of ©Brian Ach/Associated Press)

The Sept. 23 event was convened by global consumer products company Colgate-Palmolive, which launched a “Save Water” campaign in 2016 to encourage consumers to Panelist David LaFrance“turn off the faucet while brushing.”

The other panelists were Vance Merolla, Colgate’s worldwide director of sustainability, and Mina Guli, an Australia-based water activist, ultra-marathoner and founder of nonprofit Thirst. Adam Gordon, engagement director for the U.S. network of the UN Global Compact, moderated the panel discussion.

The panel discussion, #EveryDropCounts: Small Changes Make Big Climate Impacts, was among a series of events planned to promote action on sustainable development during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, which opened Sept. 17.

Colgate panelistsIn 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including clean water and sanitation. (Pictured from left, Gordon, Merolla, Guli and LaFrance)

During the discussion, LaFrance discussed how individual actions can make a positive impact on water conservation, including the fact that an average American family of four can save about 13% -- or about $65 -- off their annual water bill by turning off the faucet while brushing.

He also described the participation of AWWA and Colgate in the Value of Water Campaign's upcoming “Imagine a Day Without Water” on Oct. 23 to promote the wise use of water and investment in water infrastructure.

Merolla said that actions from companies like Colgate, “together with the daily habit changes of individuals at home, add up to global change.”

David LaFrance in New York“When we join together with partners like Mina Guli and the American Water Works Association, there’s no doubt that we will create positive outcomes for communities,” he added.

According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, an individual can save the equivalent of 64 glasses of drinking water by turning off the tap while brushing their teeth for two minutes. In addition, using less water means using less energy, so conservation also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.