Think about how much water you use in an average day. You wake up, use the washroom, take a shower, brush your teeth’and that’s just the first hour of your day. There’s no real need to worry about where all that water is going to come from; you turn on the tap and there it is, without a second thought. Maybe you use some water to make your coffee, or fill your water bottle to take along to work. For most of us, fresh water is something we take for granted. But for many people across the world, that’s not the case. World Water Day aims to remind us of that fact.
World Water Day has been observed around the world on March 22 since 1993, after being introduced by the UN General Assembly in 1992. Each year, the UN Water group selects a theme to bring awareness to a particular aspect of the global fresh water issue. The theme for World Water Day 2011 is "Water for cities: Responding to the urban challenge."
According to the World Water Day website, the "urban challenge" is finding a way to manage clean water and waste disposal. With so much urbanisation happening in poor and developing countries, the current infrastructure cannot meet the demands of the growing population. As a result, lack of proper sanitation and access to clean, safe water has become a major health issue for the people who live in these areas.
The video for World Water Day offers some sobering statistics: 884 million people don’t have access to clean water and 2.6 billion people don’t have access to a safe toilet. Four thousand children across the world die from related diseases every day as a result.
It can be hard to know where to begin to help, and that’s where World Water Day comes in. The purpose of this day is "to encourage governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management." So spread the word. Get involved in WWD events. And take some time to think about your own water habits, and the impact that they have on the global community. To find World Water Day events in your area, visit www.worldwaterday.org or follow @UNW_WWD on Twitter for updates.
What will you be doing to mark World Water Day? What water habits would you like to improve?