"World Water Day"

"World Water Day"
Together we can Make Every Day Water Day

Millions of people around the world don't have safe water. World Water Day is March 22nd — a day when the world turns its attention towards the 750 million people who lack access to safe water. But every day of the year can be a Water Day. World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges we face in the 21st century. Damaged ecosystems affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 2.1 billion people live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods.  TAKE ACTION! Wherever you are and whatever you do on March 22, make it about nature and water.

Water is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.

Today, there are over 750 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.

2018 Theme: Nature for Water

This year’s theme explores how we can use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.

Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crises we see around the world. Floods, drought and water pollution are all made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.

When we neglect our ecosystems, we make it harder to provide everyone with the water we need to survive and thrive.

Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. We need to do so much more with ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. Planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands will rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.


World Water Day is an annual observance day on 22 March to highlight the importance of freshwater. It is also used to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. This day is celebrated around the world with a variety of events. These can be educational, theatrical, musical or lobbying in nature. The day can also include campaigns to raise money for water projects.

The first World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was commemorated in 1993. UN-Water selects a theme for each year; The theme for 2018 is "Nature for Water" to encourage people to "look for the answer in nature"; For example, nature-based solutions could be implemented to reduce floods, droughts and water pollution and to protect ecosystems. Previous themes for the years 2015 to 2017 were "Water and Sustainable Development", "Water and Jobs'" and "Why waste water?" (which included aspects of wastewater and reuse). The focus on universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6.

The UN World Water Development Report is released each year around World Water Day  

Sustainable Development Goal 6 – ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030 - includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse. 

World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water – the UN’s inter-agency collaboration mechanism for all freshwater related issues - in collaboration with governments and partners.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 commits the world to ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030, and includes targets on protecting the natural environment and reducing pollution.


" We believe water is the way. To break the cycle of poverty. To protect and save lives. To make a bright future possible for all."

Access to safe water can protect and save lives, just because it's there. Access to safe water has the power to turn time spent into time saved, when it's close and not hours away. Access to safe water can turn problems into potential: unlocking education, economic prosperity, and improved health.

Every human being deserves to define their own future, and water makes that possible. We've transformed more than ten million lives with access to safe water and sanitation, and together we can reach even more people.

When Rajamma opens her tap, or Grace hears raindrops filling her catchment system, or when Poppy is able to offer her children a safe drink of water — each of these is a Water Day.

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"There's a smart way to end the water crisis" Millions of people around the world could get access to safe water in their homes with the help of small, affordable loans.

For more than 25 years, the mission of to bring water and sanitation to the world. Founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, they are the pioneers market-driven financial solutions to the global water crisis.With offices and staff members in the U.S., Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Peru and the Philippines, led by CEO and Co-founder, Gary White and President, Jennifer Schorsch.

Learn how we empower families

TAKE ACTION! Wherever you are and whatever you do on March 22, make it about nature and water.

The water crisis is the #1 global risk based on impact to society (as a measure of devastation), and the #8 global risk based on likelihood (likelihood of occurring within 10 years) as announced by the World Economic Forum, January 2015.4

750 million people around the world lack access to safe water; approximately one in nine people.2

More than twice the population of the United States lives without access to safe water.2,3

Diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water, sanitation, and hand hygiene kills an estimated 842,000 people every year globally, or approximately 2,300 people per day.1

82% of those who lack access to improved water live in rural areas, while just 18% live in urban areas.2

Diarrhea is more prevalent throughout the developing world largely due to the lower levels of access to safe drinking water and sanitation, along with poorer overall health, hygiene, and nutritional status.1

An estimated 502,000 people die every year from preventable cases of diarrhea caused by inadequate drinking water.2

An estimated 280,000 people die every year from preventable cases of diarrhea caused by inadequate sanitation.2

An estimated 297,000 people die every year from preventable cases of diarrhea caused by inadequate hand hygiene.2

It is estimated that nearly 10% of the global disease burden could be reduced through improved water supply, sanitation, hygiene, and water resource management.3

58% of cases of diarrhea in middle and low-income countries are estimated to be attributable to inadequate drinking water, inadequate sanitation, and poor hand hygiene.2



You can take the first step to change this by following on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE: disease and water via (CC BY SA)

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.




World Water Day is an international observance day. The intention is to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues and to take action to make a difference.

The global water crisis is one of the issues that calls for action. The challenges include water scarcity, water pollution, inadequate water supply and the lack of sanitation for billions of people in less developed countries. The day brings to light the inequality of access to WASH services and the need to assure the human right to water and sanitation.


UN-Water coordinates activities with UN member organisations who share an interest in that year's theme.
In 2016 the "Water and Jobs" theme led to a collaboration with the International Labour Organization.[4] UN-Water mobilizes organizations of all kinds to action, whether globally or locally.

The World Water Day website announces events, activities and volunteer opportunities. In 2018, stories are about "Nature and water from around the world" in keeping with the theme of "Nature for water".


United Nations Water

UN-Water coordinates the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues.

There is no single UN entity dedicated exclusively to water issues. Over 30 UN organizations carry out water and sanitation programmes, reflecting the fact that water issues run through all of the UN’s main focus areas. UN-Water’s role is to coordinate so that the UN family ‘delivers as one’ in response to water related challenges.

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The overarching focus of our Members and Partners is to support UN Member States to sustainably manage water and sanitation.

 In three ways:   Inform Policies    Monitor and Report    Inspire Action

UN-Water’s Members and Partners have helped place water and sanitation at the heart of recent milestone agreements such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2015 Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, and the 2015 Paris Agreement within the UN Convention Framework on Climate Change. UN-Water’s consolidated technical advice from UN entities and external organizations helped shape Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. As a result, SDG 6 and its various targets take the entire water and sanitation cycle into account.


A lot can change in ten years

The United Nations has committed to focus on water for a decade. That’s ten years to advance sustainable development. Ten years to breathe new air into existing programmes and projects. Play your part and make a difference.


Examples of activities

Organizations active in the WASH sector use the day to raise public awareness, get media attention for water issues and inspire action.[6] Activities have included releasing publications and films, as well as organizing round tables, seminars and expositions. Non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF, WaterAid and Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP).

End Water Poverty, a global civil society coalition with 250 partner organizations, sponsors Water Action Month each year and offers an event-planning guidebook.

The UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) is released each year on World Water Day. Information related to the annual theme gives decision-makers tools to implement sustainable use of water resources.

More and more initiatives in schools and universities are educating people about the importance of conserving and managing water resources. For example, Michigan State University held a contest for "best World Water Day poster" in 2017. Primary school children in the Philippines participated in a "My School Toilet" contest in 2010.


In 2016, the World Water Day campaign and related publications reached millions of people through social media, dedicated websites and other channels:
The UN-Water annual report states that social media engagement (hashtag #WorldWaterDay) had a maximum potential reach of 1.6 billion people worldwide in 2016 Over 500 events in 1000 countries were registered on the World Water Day website that year.


This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro.
In December 1992, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/47/193 by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water.

In 1993, the first World Water Day was observed.







Resource Links

Look for more facts in  Water Resource Links.


  1. Estimated with data from UNICEF, WHO 2009 Diarhhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done.
  2. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 19, no. 8 (2014): 894 - 905. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries.
  3. UN Water. (2009). The United Nations World Water Development Report 3, Water in a Changing World.
  4. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 19, no. 8 (2014): 894 - 905. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries.
  5. World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). (2014). Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014 Update.
  6. United States Census Bureau Estimates. (2014). U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base.
  7. World Economic Forum (2015).Global Risks 2015 Report.
  8. Map data sourced from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2014). Pg. 14. Based on 2012 Data. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014 Update.


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