World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater.
World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
World Water Day 2021: Theme and Significance
On 22 March 2021, World Water Day will be celebrated in an online event.
The theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water. The value of water is 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. SDG 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all. Without a comprehensive understanding of water’s true, multidimensional value, we will be unable to safeguard this critical resource for the benefit of everyone.
Today, water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change.
As societies balance the demands on water resources, many people’s interests are not being taken into account.
World Water Day: History
The idea for this international day goes back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. That same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993.
Later on, other celebrations and events were added. For instance, the International Year of Cooperation in the Water Sphere 2013, and the current International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028. These observances serve to reaffirm that water and sanitation measures are key to poverty reduction, economic growth, and environmental sustainability.
Why water conservation is the need of the hour
- 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°C above pre-industrial levels, we could cut climate-induced water stress by up to 50%.
- Extreme weather has caused more than 90% of major disasters over the last decade.
- By 2040, global energy demand is projected to increase by over 25% and water demand is expected to increase by more than 50%.