Water Day is an annual event that looks at the global issues surrounding access to clean, safe drinking water and sanitation.
This year’s Water Day focuses on the link between water and climate change and how the two are linked. The UN has said: “Adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and save lives.”
Water is such a precious commodity that many take it for granted. World Water Day is a chance to think about those people and places where water needs are still paramount and seek to work together to find a solution.
History of Water Day
It is an unfortunate but true fact: Across the world, there are 783 million people who still do not have access to clean water. While over 2.5 million people from across the globe still lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. This concerning lack of accessible options for meeting these two basic human needs is a tragedy that people from across the globe are looking to reduce and manage, bringing clean water and better sanitation facilities to underprivileged communities across the world.
The first Water Day was proposed in Agenda 22 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development that was held in Rio de Janeiro. In December of that year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the resolution that on the 22nd of March each year, Water Day would be held, a day dedicated to raising awareness around global water-related issues, with the key focus being on ensuring every community has to access to a clean water supply. In March 1993, the first Water Day was held and has been held every year since then.
It’s from this need for clean water and adequate sanitation facilities for all that Water Day was born. The United Nations decided to set up Water Day to help combat the clean water and sanitation crisis ongoing across the globe. The aim of Water Day is to provide people with a day where they can focus on helping and supporting communities across the globe in gaining access to safe and clean water and safe sanitation facilities.
Water Day also focuses on how ordinary people can help others in affected communities to reclaim their dignity while also improving their long-term health and well-being through access to clean, safe water.
Each year, specific other issues are also highlighted, such as safeguarding aquatic ecosystems local to communities.
Water Day primarily focuses on access to clean water and adequate sanitation, but it also looks at a number of water-related issues impacting the wider community.
Learn more about Water Day
Each year, the UN selects a theme for Water Day and focuses the entire celebration around this theme. The theme for Water Day 2020 is ‘Water and Climate Change’ and will explore how these two themes are closely linked.
The focus of Water Day, which looks to provide universal access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, meets the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals set out in the UN World Water Development Report.
This year’s Water Day focuses on the close link between water and climate change and looks at how, as a global community, we cannot afford to wait to take action. The UN states that: “Climate delay is almost as dangerous as climate denial. Every country in the world must work more quickly.”
The UN has also highlighted the fact that extreme weather events have begun to make water more scarce, more unpredictable, and more polluted. They have also looked at how we, as a society, need water to survive and as do the systems we rely on, including our healthcare, sanitation, education, business, and multiple industries.
The UN has said that action plans are vital for success when it comes to tackling climate change and that they need to be integrated across various sectors to prove effective.
WHY WORLD WATER DAY IS IMPORTANT
It affects millions of people
An estimated 780 million people live without clean, accessible drinking water. Drinking contaminated water can lead to a host of life-threatening diseases. This may seem like a third-world problem, but Flint, Michigan, showed us that water problems even plague the United States.
Water pollution affects wildlife
It’s not only humans that require access to clean water. Every year, countless animals die as a result of water pollution. Pollution can occur in many ways, from physical litter to wastewater and chemical runoff, which causes the water to become toxic to the animals that depend on it for drinking and habitation.
Water relates to many other environmental issues
World Water Day has a yearly theme, such as “Nature for Water,” which is dedicated to finding natural solutions to our water crises. Many of the environmental problems we are coping with are intertwined — climate change and ecosystem degradation are related to, and sometimes direct causes, of water pollution, floods, and droughts.
WORLD WATER DAY DATES