World Water Day, celebrated each year on March 22nd, since 1993, celebrates water and raises awareness of the ongoing global water crisis. The theme this year is Valuing Water. Much more than just price, water has huge value for households, food, culture, health, education, and the environment (UN Water 2021). 

This year to celebrate World Water Day, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs has compiled some of its favourite quotes from interviewees  about their relation to, and love for water. Over the years, on the Space4Water Portal, interviews have been conducted with distinguished researchers, other professionals and young professionals working within or having a passion for space technologies and/or water resource management. The following quotes are taken from these interviews, which we have provided links to, so that you may read them in full and be inspired by their work. 

How do you personally and professionally relate to water?

When asked “How do you personally and professionally relate to water”, our professionals and young professionals have had profound stories to tell. From their upbringing in water stressed regions or their educational background, to a deep love for nature or their life’s work in the sector, their stories inspire a respect for water and remind us of the importance that water plays in all of our lives. 


"My interest in understanding water resource management came about during my formative years growing up in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Dry spells within the region were common, and this resulted in a seasonal shortage of water supply.” (Ruvimbo Samanga)

Ruvimbo’s interview covers interesting topics from water futures contracts and international law for water resource management to the challenges of climate change in Zimbabwe and potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and quantum computing in policy and law. Read the full interview here.

“My interest in water – water diplomacy as well as water conflict and cooperation – came from a long interest in water and the environment that I developed already as a teenager, mainly from loving to be outdoors, close to rivers and in the mountains.” (Assoc. Prof. Susanne Schmeier)

In her interview, Susanne explains that it took time to figure out how to turn such passion into a profession but is now happy to have found just that working at IHE Delft, in identifying potential challenges around shared water resources and developing responses. She believe that this work requires an interdisciplinary approach – “cooperation is not a choice but a must.”  Read the full interview here.

“My interest in water came much later through a series of accidents. When I was a child my parents wanted me to be a doctor. However, my uncle who was the only educated person in the family (and was a teacher of zoology) persuaded my parents against it and so I was transferred from biological sciences to physical sciences in high school. I ended up in civil engineering, not knowing what it was about, and with no one to look up to. It turned out I did well in college and wanted to go to graduate school. I was applying to the Asian Institute of Technology and had to choose a specialization. I really wanted to specialize in soil mechanics, but at the last minute chose hydrology, because none of my friends were interested in it, and I had a better chance for a scholarship as there was no competition. I came into hydrology almost by default!” (Prof. Sivapalan) 

Read the full interview here. 

“As years went by and the discussion about climate change and environmental destruction became increasingly intense, I started to realize that many of the things I had taken for granted growing up with would no longer exist in the near future, or had never existed for other people”. (Lukas Graf)  

Read the full interview here. Lukas has also written two informative articles for the Space4Water portal: Irrigated Agriculture from Space and Water Quality indicators

“While much of the research in earth systems and climate change focuses on global warming trends, I am interested in how the interaction between the earth’s spheres, namely atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, etc., leads to extreme climatic events.” (Prof. Hesham el Askary)

Prof. Hesham el Askary’s development of the Earth Systems Science Data Solutions (ESsDs) lab at Chapman University in the USA is training the next generation of scientists in the extensive usages of satellite earth observation on specific SDGs from food productivity to life under water. Read the full interview here.  

"Within the water sector, water supply and sanitation and how that impacts every aspect of people’s lives caught my attention. In Brazil, there is still a significant gap to ensure universal access to clean water and sanitation, especially in more vulnerable areas. I saw that as an opportunity to contribute to the development of my country.” (Valdilene Silva Siqueira) 

Read the full interview here. Valdilene Silva Siqueira has also written an interesting article for the Space4Water portal: Sustainable Wetland Management. Read to learn about the importance of wetlands and satellite observation supports their management.  

"For years, I have worked not only looking up, but also looking down at our planet searching for opportunities on how satellites can be used to improve life on Earth... Mars is thought to have been wet and fertile and potentially hosting life before losing much of its atmosphere.” (Simonetta di Pippo)

Di Pippo’s endeavours are far reaching and inspiring. From her involvement in missions and projects that have helped to discover water on Mars, to the launching of Kenya’s first ever satellite. Di Pippo  also aims to encourage more women to pursue STEM education and careers. Learn more about the Space for Women project, which is creating an enabling environment, helping women and girls to overcome barriers. Read the full interview here.   

“My career has been devoted to providing safe water to residents of rural areas and especially in developing countries. The work has been done with a focus on cholera, the causative agent of which is Vibrio cholerae, an environmental bacterium.” (Prof. Rita Colwell)

Prof. Rita Colwell’s interview covers fascinating topics from her doctoral thesis on Marine Microbiology and her pioneering work in cholera modelling to the importance of education for all. Read the full interview here.

What is your favourite aggregate state of water?

We have also summarised some of the most-thought provoking responses to the question posed to interviewees about their favourite aggregate state of water. 

"As a scientist, I have to say I study all states of water. Solid, liquid and gas. I cannot favour one over the other.” (Prof. Hesham el Askary)

“My enjoyment of water is only in its abstraction into mathematics or models. However, one thing I always enjoyed is rain. Growing up in Sri Lanka, during the monsoons, when it rains it pours with a lot of action and noise, lightning, and thunder for hours on end.” (Prof Sivapalan) 

“Ice and snow. I love being in the mountains, skiing and touring and nothing beats a true winter wonder land in the mountains.” (Susanne Schmeier)

“My favourite aggregate state of water is liquid like flowing rivers, always moving, can be forceful, can be calming, mesmerising but powerful force.” (Ruvimbo Samanga)

“Since I was a child, I have always stepped over a puddle whenever I see one. I love fly fishing since the running water help me relax. I have always been fascinated by hydropower stations and by irrigated fields. I suppose that liquid water is my favourite aggregate state of water.”(Dr. Pietro Campana)

Dr. Pietro Campana’s interest in water is closely related to his family upbringing and educational background. Read the full interview here.


"Solid, because of the variety of snow elements. Do you know that the Sami have 180 words and the scots claim to have 421 to designate the different types of snow.” (Marie Françoise Voidrot)   

Marie Françoise Voidrot’s interview covers topics from meteorology and hydrology to her work in Earth Observation with the Innovation Program of the Open Geospatial Consortium (OCG) and the importance and use of standards. Read the full interview here. 


We hope you can take inspiration from the stories and memories shared by our wonderful interviewees. Evidently water means very different things to different people, highlighting its versatility, importance and value. Consider what water means to you and how this precious resource, taken for granted by so many, impacts so greatly each of our daily lives. 

Have a look at all Space4Water interviews and get inspired!