World Water Day is an annual United Nations (UN) observance day held on 22 March that highlights the importance of freshwater. The day is used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme of each day focuses on topics relevant to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), which is in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6. The UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) is released each year around World Water Day.
The United Nations Nations Conference on Environment and Development took place in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and the same year, the UNGA adopted a resolution declaring 22 March as the World Water Day. The day has been observed since 1993 with the aim of resolving the water crisis across the planet. The UN seeks to make communities across the planet aware of the importance of freshwater. UN-Water also alerts people about the global water crisis in the wake of a rapidly climbing human population, the unequal geographical distribution of freshwater resources, rapid urbanisation, the impact of global warming and subsequent climate change, freshwater depletion due to its use by industries for the manufacture of beverages and in agricultural and livestock rearing farms. The organisation then stresses the need for water conservation and sustainable use.
Few key facts about water
- “Today, 1 in 3 people live without safe drinking water”
- “By 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year”
- “Climate-resilient water supply and sanitation could save the lives of more than 360,000 infants every year”
- “If we limit global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels, we could cut climate-induced water stress by up to 50 per cent”
- “Extreme weather has caused more than 90 percent of major disasters over the last decade”
- Almost half of the schools in the world do not have handwashing facilities with soap and water available to students
- Around 297,000 children – more than 800 every day – under five die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor hygiene, poor sanitation or unsafe drinking water
Theme of World Water Day 2021
Around 2.2 billion people, almost one-third of the total world population, don’t have access to safe water. Not just that, by 2050, the UN also states that up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas that experience water scarcity for at least a month in the year. In light of this ,the theme of World Water Day 2021 is “Valuing Water” and has been chosen to highlight the value of water in our daily lives. “The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.
The UN World Water Development Report 2021 states that the current status of water resources highlights the need for improvement in water resources management. Recognizing, measuring and expressing water’s worth, and incorporating it into decision-making, are fundamental to achieving sustainable and equitable water resources management. Steps should be taken to conserve water for the future generation.
Do it yourself tips to conserve water
- Check your toilet for leaks
- Take shorter showers
- Install water-saving shower heads
- Check faucets and pipes for leaks
- Water your lawn only when it needs it
- Don’t water the gutter
- Install flow restrictors
- Turn off the tap while brushing or washing dishes
- Adopt rainwater harvesting
Source- un.org, unwater.org