“The Environment is everybody’s business”. That is the simple, powerful message, constantly stressed by Environment Minister Michel Foret - and reinforced through modern public awareness information campaigns. This is true for water issues, and for other environmental areas of interest.

The Walloon Region is focusing its water awareness campaign in the month of March. March 22 is World Water Day, and the closest Friday and Sunday are when the “Walloon Water Days” are organised. Friday is for schools, and the Sunday for the general public.

The idea is to open all the water industry sites, collection points, production and supply installations, and waste treatment works to the public. On the Friday school classes are taken on guided tours by staff members who are able to situate the site visited within the broader scheme of human water usage. Special kits allow interested teachers to integrate the visit as an element of a longer educational effort. On Sunday the sites are open to the general public. On arrival, every visitor
receives a leaflet which explains the site, and its role in the water cycle.

Eco-Consumption messages are part of these visits, both in the form of written material provided and through targeted advertising.

“Everybody’s business” - that means specific communication material for every segment of the public. Young people are targeted through the schools with several programmes financed, or co-financed, by the Region. The Region supports associations such as the WWF and the Nicolas Hulot Foundation. The IDeas Network exists to provide information on all the material available on different environmental subjects for teachers and local youth workers. The CRIE Network (Regional Introduction to the Environment Centres) covers the whole of Wallonia and provides environmental education for youth and adult groups. The Eco-Consumer Network responds to people’s questions about good environmental consumer practice.

Companies, the self-employed and trade unions have their own special programme, “Eco-Management Line” which promotes environmentally aware management practices.

There is such a broad range of questions about water that the Ministry of the Environment has created a special telephone line - “The Blue Line” (+ and web site (lalignebleue.be) where people can ask any water-related questions they like - apart of course from questions about their water bills. Those they have to discuss with their supplier.

Finally different initiatives are undertaken to promote the use of tap water. Free drinking water fountains have been installed in schools as a pilot project.

All these initiatives are grouped under the slogan “Water is Life. Together let’s protect this essential element”.