Renowned polar explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will lead a team of six women, from six continents, on an 2525 km (1,569 mile), 60-day long expedition following the River Ganges from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal.

Ann Bancroft, first known woman to reach both the North and South Poles on foot and Liv Arnesen, first woman to ski solo to the South Pole teamed up in 2000 to become the first women to ski across Antarctica. They did this with the help of 3 million kids following along and they continue that partnership with their most lofty expedition yet. Ann and Liv have handpicked a woman from each continent to create the team to achieve Access Water.

Each of the women will be representing the key water challenges on their continent. Their journey will be the centerpiece of a global awareness and outreach program that will spur us all to join hands in solving our global water crisis.

The expedition will embrace worldwide media coverage, the global classroom and conscious business partnerships to create awareness of the critical water crisis and to encourage a move to action on global and local levels.

The project is designed to complement the efforts of international conservation organizations, institutions, government and enterprise on this vitally important subject. As with the other successful Bancroft-Arnesen expeditions, this project will make a determined effort to engage with youth by means of technology and a tailored educational methodology and curriculum.

Our goal is to reach 2 million classrooms and 50 million youth.

The expedition provides a unique partnership opportunity for organizations that are committed to the same values as those celebrated by Bancroft Arnesen Explore:

  • Environment, currently emphasizing the fresh water crisis;
  • The essential role of education in making sustainable changes;
  • Empowerment of girls and women to achieve their dreams;
  • Cross-cultural communication and understanding; and
  • The ability of each person to make a difference in the world.


Humans need fresh water to survive. We grow food with it, drink it, cook with it and bathe in it. We use it to create the goods and services that form our global economy. There is no substitute for fresh water. It is more crucial for human survival than any source of fuel.

But fresh water is becoming scarce. One in eight people lack access to clean water and more than three million die each year from water-related health problems. Battles for water are creating tensions between people, interests groups and regions. In some cases, they are causing armed conflicts. Left untouched, these challenges will only worsen. Within just 15 years from now, nearly two billion people will live in areas of severe water scarcity. The consequences are clear.

We can solve the water crisis by bringing it to the forefront of the global agenda. This means raising awareness on water access issues, promoting resource efficiency and cooperation on the problems of pollution and climate change.

  • 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water, roughly one-sixth of the world’s population.
  • 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
  • Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related illnesses.
  • More people die from lack of clean water and sanitation each year than are killed by all forms of violence, including war.

Source: Blue Planet Network


In October 2015, the Access Water series will begin with a 60-day journey in India. Starting in the Himalayas, the team will trek through the Ganges River.


400 million residents rely on the Ganges for water, food, bathing, and worship. The Ganges River is one of the most important and sacred rivers in the world and water has a major impact on the human and animal inhabitants living along the river.


Beginning with this first expedition to the Ganges, the team will visit with local organizations such as schools, farms and industrial businesses that are working to improve water conditions in the area. With help from partners like TERI and The Times Foundation, the team will work with a variety of educators, government initiatives and non-profits, learning and sharing knowledge about why access to water is vital to everyone’s future and the innovations these organizations are testing to improve it.


This expedition series is unique because it has a multi-continent, multi-year outlook with an international team of women who share the same vision for the future. Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen also bring a unique expertise to the team with multiple decades of dedication and experience with inspiring leadership and education through expeditions around the world.


As with the other successful Bancroft-Arnesen expeditions, Access Water will seek to build a network through partner organizations like TERI, WAGGGS, UNESCO, Young Pioneers of China, that empowers teachers to raise awareness, understanding and reflection amongst young people on the key issues of access to water and to help them formulate an agenda for action. The initiative will educate young people and engage them by means of technology and educational methodology and curriculum.


The goal is to lead a conversation with millions of youth that will raise awareness and inspire the future leaders of the world to work towards a safe and abundant world, starting with access to clean water


World renowned explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, along with 6 women explorers from around the globe, each representing their continent and its own unique water crisis.

Expedition team::


After the 2015 Ganges expedition, the team plans to visit each continent every few years, ending the Access Water series with a journey to Antarctica in 2026.