World Water Day takes place annually on 22 March to inspire people around the world to learn more about water-related issues, tell others about these issues and take action to make a difference, particularly in developing countries. One such issue is the global water crisis which includes challenges such as water scarcity, water pollution, inadequate water supply and the lack of sanitation for billions of people in developing 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 plans and programmes for the day in consultation with UN member organisations who share interest in that year’s theme. For example, in 2016 when the theme was “Water and Jobs,” UN-Water collaborated with the International Labour Organization. Organizations active in the WASH sector, including non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF and WaterAid, use the day to raise public awareness, inspire action and get media attention for water issues. Activities have included the production and dissemination of publications or films, and the organization of round tables, seminars, expositions and other events. End Water Poverty, a global civil society coalition with 250 partner organizations worldwide, also coordinates a calendar of global events to commemorate World Water Day, on the 22nd and during the whole of March.
World Water Day has seen an increase in the quantity and quality of education initiatives within schools and universities, to raise awareness of the importance of conserving and managing water resources. Michigan State University held a contest for “best World Water Day poster” in 2017. Primary school children in the Phillipines participated in a “My School Toilet” contest in 2010. In addition to school-based educational events, a variety of public events, such as seminars, rallies and parades are held to bring people together for World Water Day. These include educational displays on water-saving devices such as greywater reuse systems or dry toilets, as well as information about the lack of access to drinking water and water for agriculture in developing countries. It was first formally proposed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations (UN) designated 22 March as International World Water Day in 1992 at the same conference and In 1993, the first World Water Day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly and each year since then has focused on a different issue.
Past Annual themes have included Why Waste Water? This concerns the reduction and reuse of wastewater, which is a valuable resource to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal Number 6 to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and also to increase the recycling and safe reuse of water across the globe. After appropriate treatment, wastewater can be used for a variety of purposes. Industry, for example, can reuse water for cooling manufacturing equipment and agriculture can reuse water for irrigation.
In 2016 the theme was Better Water, Better Jobs. This highlighted the correlation between water and job creation, both directly and indirectly by water sources around the globe. If water scarcity becomes a reality, industries heavily dependent on water like textiles and agriculture are at risk of increased costs, which threatens salaries and jobs. Increased costs may then be passed on to consumers. It also illustrated how an abundance of quality water can change people’s jobs and lives for the better and stressed the importance of working to improve water quality and availability and how Water shortages and lack of access can limit economic growth. In 2015 the theme was Water and Sustainable Development. This consolidated and built upon the previous World Water Days to highlight water’s role in the sustainable development agenda. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were to have been achieved by 2015. With the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), world Water Day gave specific emphasis to SDG 6, which calls for water and sanitation for all. In 2014 the theme was Water and Energy. This emphasized the interdependence of water and energy. Generating and transmitting energy requires the use of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources , with 8% of the energy generated globally is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.
In 2014, the UN, addressed issues affecting those who live in urban slums and impoverished rural areas, who must find ways to survive without access to safe drinking water, safe sanitation, sufficient food and without energy services. The UN
helped Develop policies and frameworks that would bridge ministries and sectors, to ensure energy security and sustainable water use in a green economy. journalists from eleven countries in Asia also met in Tokyo to discuss the importance of water And also discussed privatisation of services, integration between water and energy and modernisation of water services. The year 2013: was International Year of Water Cooperation and in 2012 the theme was Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry. the International Committe of the Red Cross (ICRC) called attention to the water-related challenges faced by civilians caught up in fighting and intense civil unrest. In 2011 the theme was Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge. This encouraged governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management. In 2010 the theme was Clean Water for a Healthy World. This showed the importance of water management. In 2009 the theme was Trans Waters. This placed Special focus on trans-boundary waters. In 2008 the theme was Sanitation. 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation. In 2007 the theme was Coping With Water Scarcity. This Highlighted water scarcity worldwide and the need for increased integration and cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources, both at international and local levels.In 2006 the theme was Water and Culture. The theme drew the attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world.