Saturday is World Water Day, a time set aside by the U.N. during which member nations are encouraged to address the worldwide water crisis. This year’s theme is the “International Year of Sanitation” (sexy!), which is aimed at “accelerat[ing] progress for 2.6 billion people worldwide who are without proper sanitation facilities.” For more on this topic, check out the Guardian Weekly‘s special supplement “Every Drop Counts.” [PDF]

But World Water Day is also meant to bring attention to other water-related crises, like the ones facing beautiful places like this:

still from Grand Canyon film

Wow. Check out that view. Now imagine it on an IMAX screen six stories high and 80 feet wide. In 3-D.

That, my friends, is what it’s like to watch the film Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk 3D.

The film follows river activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., author/explorer Wade Davis, and their daughters on a rafting journey down the Colorado River. The crew is joined by Shana Watahomigie, a member of the Havasupai tribe and the first Native American to become a National Park Ranger and river guide.

While the story line about Davis’ daughter growing up and leaving for college is a bit cliché, the narration about the fate of the Colorado River — which is drying up due to use in agriculture and to feed the thirst of growing cities in the area — is compelling and cautionary. The true standout of the film, though, is the scenery, highlighted in gorgeous aerial shots that almost engulf you, especially in 3-D.

I saw the film last night and the brilliant imagery is still running through my head. It’s truly breathtaking. But the message in the film — and in the celebration of World Water Day — is that we’ve got to jump-start some change and mind our habits or else we’ll lose a lot more than a beautiful postcard image.

still from Grand Canyon film