There are a ton of "holidays" throughout the year to get excited about (hey there, Ice Cream Day), but let's step back a minute to observe something way more pressing--World Water Day. This and other environmental awareness dates like Earth Day (April 22) and World Environment Day (June 5) are designated days to bring attention to the environmental crises our world faces each day.
What is World Water Day?
International World Water Day is held on March 22 each year. The importance of World Water Day is to bring attention to the lack of access to safe drinking water to impoverished and disadvantaged individuals around the world and to advocate for more sustainable management of freshwater resources. Every year, events are held around the world on this day to bring awareness and action upon people who have the power to inspire change.
This international day to celebrate freshwater was suggested at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. Shortly after, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22, 1993, as the first World Water Day.
Why World Water Day?
World Water Day invites people around the world to observe and take this day as an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues around the world, to spread awareness regarding access to water, and to make an impact on the global water crisis. We should really be aware of our water usage year-round, but having a dedicated day is like a reminder that we all need to be a bit more conscious.
If you're here, you're making the effort to learn about what World Water Day really means, and that's the essence of it, so GO YOU.
What is this year's World Water Day theme?
Every year, UN-Water sets a theme for World Water Day that corresponds to a current or future challenge. The central theme for World Water Day 2019 is 'Leaving no one behind', an adaptation of UN Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6)'s core promise to bring access to clean water to every person on earth by 2030, also known as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.
Last year's theme was 'The Answer is in Nature'. World Water Day 2020's theme will be about climate change.
What problem does World Water Day aim to solve?
Billions of people are still living without safe water worldwide--households, schools, workplaces, farms, and factories struggle to survive and thrive. The lack of access to clean water occurs in marginalized groups--women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people, and many others--and they struggle to gain access to the safe water they need and deserve due to discrimination. Examples of some of the 'grounds for discrimination' are sex and gender, race, ethnicity, religion, birth, caste, language, and nationality, disability, age, health status, property, tenure, residence, economic and social status--among others.
It is important to think of clean water as a basic human right. It's a critical resource that everyone should have access to. The water crisis is a public health issue as well as a sustainable development issue that we need to work together to improve.
Water Sanitation and Hygiene
Without proper systems in place for water sanitation, contamination between water sources can pose a real problem for communities. Along with the issue of accessibility to clean water, people all over the world are still prone to disease from contaminated water and unhygienic water conditions that can lead to death.
Warning: Some of the following statistics might shock you.
Facts about Water Sanitation and Hygiene from the World Health Organization
- 71% of the global population is using a safely managed drinking water service
- 2 billion people around the world are using a drinking water source that is contaminated with fecal matter
- 68% of the global population uses improved sanitation facilities Water sanitation is critical for public health. Good sanitation practices prevent diseases including diarrhea, intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma, which affect millions of people today.
- 2.1 billion people have access to improved sanitation facilities and sanitation services since 1990
- 842,000 deaths by diarrhea per year resulting from a lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation and hygiene
- 58% of the diarrheal deaths could be prevented through safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene
Visit www.who.int for more information.
Facts about the Global Water Crisis from Water.org
- 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water
- 1 in 3 lack access to a toilet
- 844 million people are living without access to safe water
- 2.3 billion people are living without access to improved sanitation
- women and girls around the world spend approximately 200 million hours every day collecting water
- every 2 minutes, a child dies from a water-related disease
- 1/3 of all schools lack access to water and sanitation, taking time away from school and play
- the 3rd leading cause of child death is diarrhea, caused by unsafe water
Visit www.water.org for more information.
Ways to Observe World Water Day
- Conserve water at home
Even though it may not seem like you use a lot of water, being mindful of your water footprint is an important step toward conservation. Reduce the amount of time it takes for you to shower, invest in water saving toilets, low flow shower-heads, reduce the number of times you run the laundry machine--every bit counts.
- Organize a campaign to raise funds and awareness
Spread the word about the global water crisis. It's important to talk about water issues and how they can be mitigated across the world. Discuss what can be done to improve water quality through proper water services and how water sources can be brought to water-scarce areas. You can also donate your birthday to a cause via Facebook, a crowdfunding tool that allows you to raise awareness and funds for a non-profit of your choice.
- Companies can contribute too
Setting an example in your industry or for your employees can help boost company morale and culture. Your company can seek opportunities to aid the water crisis by partnering with non-profit organizations, becoming sponsors for water projects, and implementing sustainable practices company-wide.
At LARQ, we’re doing our part by partnering with 1% for the Planet, an organization that aims to amplify the impact of member-nonprofit partnerships through strategic donations to fuel environmental change. By contributing to 1% for the Planet, we’re benefiting nonprofits in that help improve our environment and protect the planet from further damage. This network of environmental non-profits includes organizations in the land, climate, food, pollution, water, and wildlife sectors.
- If you would like to contribute financially to the water crisis, here’s a list of nonprofit organizations that help close the gap for access to water around the world:
1% for the Planet
Become a member as a business or as an individual in 1% for the Planet’s member-nonprofit network. You’ll be contributing to global environmental causes--water-related and other.
With Charity:Water, 100% of your donation will bring clean water to people in need. They partner with local organizations worldwide to provide sustainable water and sanitation services. They’ve funded 35,281 water projects for 9.5 million people all over the globe, and want to continue to do this with your help. To help with the water crisis, LARQ helped fund a water project in Uganda with Charity:Water during the launch of our self-cleaning water bottle. We believe in action more than words, and intend to continue bringing awareness to the water crisis and environmental pollution.
Water.org wants to bring access to safe water and sanitation by providing help with small, affordable loans. They make your $1 donation go further by putting it into something called WaterCredit, which creates $47 worth of impact. Founders, Matt Damon and Gary White, discovered this smart sustainable solution to the water crisis, helping to bring water and sanitation expertise to people in need.
Established in 1981, WaterAid equips people with clean water and functioning toilets to normalize a clean quality of life. By focusing on bringing clean water, toilets, and promoting good hygiene, WaterAid hopes to reduce the number of child deaths resulting from diarrhea and transform people’s lives for good.
Planet Water Foundation
Planet Water Foundation supports more than 1 million people in 13 countries by bringing clean water to impoverished communities. Their chief water projects include the “AquaTower” and “AquaHome”, community-based water filtration systems that are installed to provide access to clean water, coupled with Water-Health and Hygiene Education programs. Planet Water Foundation focuses its efforts on schools, children, and rural communities across the Asia-Pacific Region and Latin America.
Water For People
Water For People’s goal is to promote the development of high-quality drinking water and sanitation services, to make them accessible to all, and to be sustained by strong communities, businesses, and governments. Water For People explores possibilities for innovation, cost reduction, and overall improvements of the communities they support.
As a Christian clean water organization, Lifewater has been bringing clean water, improved health, and gospel hope to people living in extreme poverty around the world. Donate directly to a project of your choice on their website.
Help Blood:Water equip African organizations with the resources to provide access to clean water through technologies. They also support individuals affected by HIV/AIDS on medical, psychological, social, cultural, material, and legal levels throughout their illness.
The spirit of generosity is about giving and empowering, and that’s exactly what Generosity.org does. They focus on water and sanitation to give clean water to impoverished peoples, medical aid, education, family support, and much more.
The goal of Splash is focused on bringing clean drinking water to children by providing customized hygiene education services, to change lives by bringing safe water to kids in schools, orphanages, hospitals and shelters around the world.
Remember, water is a basic human need and no one should be left behind. Let's help the entire population of the earth to gain access to clean water by 2030!