Many countries across the globe are facing water shortages due to rising population and increased exploitation of fresh water sources. To raise public awareness about the importance of water, World Water Day is observed every year on 22 March.
The prime goal of the day is to motivate people to conserve water. The day also encourages more support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) as the sixth SDG hopes to provide water and sanitation to every person by the year 2030.
Every year, World Water Day is celebrated with a specific theme to raise awareness about conservation of the natural resource. This year the theme is ‘Groundwater – Making the invisible visible’.
The theme highlights the importance of groundwater in agriculture, industries, sanitation and climate change adaptation. According to UNESCO, groundwater provides half of the total volume of water drawn for domestic use globally, including drinking water for populations who do not get freshwater through public or private supply lines.
“As the planet adapts to a changing climate and rising population, groundwater will play an essential role in meeting the growing demand for food and drinking water. Yet this essential resource faces serious risks – including inadequate protection and sometimes irreversible pollution,” stated Audrey Azoulay, Director-General, UNESCO, in this year's message on World Water Day.
The idea for World Water Day goes back to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992. The resolution to observe this day was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 22 December 1992. The UN resolution stated that 22 March was to be designated as World Water Day. Since then, the day has been marked every year.
Every year, individuals, as well as institutions observe World Water Day by organising activities such as panels, seminars and debates to raise awareness about the importance of conserving freshwater resources.
According to UNESCO's official website, the World Water Forum will take place from 21 to 26 March this year for the occasion. A World Water Development Report will also be released to create awareness about the tools and policies needed for sustainable freshwater consumption.