You are here: Home / What we do / News and Events / Water, science, economics and spirituality

Water, science, economics and spirituality

Water, science, economics and spirituality

Prof. Evelyne Lyons, France, sits on the side of a water basin during the theological consultation of EWN-WCC at the Ecumenical Centre in Bossey, December, 2014. © Helen Putsman/WCC

30 April 2015

Although much of the world does not benefit from the World Health Organizations’ standards of water, in France where Professor Lyons lives, the quality of the water is good.

“When it comes to water in France, we have a good level of service,” says Evelyne Lyons, an engineer, who teaches water policies and water conflict management at the Catholic University in Paris as well as at other engineering schools.

“But,” it concerns her that, “people use tap water but make no connection between that water and the environment.

“So they don’t realise the value of it and what work has gone into producing this service. They don’t realise from where tap water comes and who will watch over the spring.

“There is a loss of water citizenship,” Professor Lyons says with a tone of regret. “People think water is a thing for engineers, but when it is something for citizens.”

Attending the Ecumenical Water Network consultation in December, she was inspired by speakers on how the spiritual value of water integrates in the traditional lives of people.

But that spirituality around water has drained away from many people’s lives in the modern world.

Yet, by being present before a diverse group such as that at the Bossey consultation Professor Lyons said she felt happy that people are considering this aspect of water.

When Professor Lyons first began working, she was attached to a water utility company.

Her interest in water conflict management was sparked by a year-long pilgrimage on foot she made for peace that started in her birth country, England, to Jerusalem. She returned from it in 2000.

“We crossed Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Israel. All the time people kept asking why do people make war?”

She notes, “Water is something that flows without contradiction. I wish scientists and even economists would collaborate more in the unity of water with spirituality for the good of all of us.”

A group of 17 people, most of them theologians, but also lawyers and an engineer met at the Ecumenical Institute, Bossey, Switzerland, in a theological consultation on water justice from 8-11 December 2014 to develop a theological framework for water justice. Along with students at Bossey, some of the group told Peter Kenny about the issue of water in the context of their regions, nations and local areas.