MAR 21, 2017 10:35 AM PDT

Welcoming World Water Day

World Water Day is tomorrow and people everywhere will be gathering around the world at local water sources to join together in a meditation to gather collective good intentions and prayers for our sacred waters. These acts will symbolize standing in solidarity with the World’s Water Protectors, people across the globe who are fighting to make sure clean water is a human right for all.

The intent of recognizing World Water Day is to raise awareness of the water crisis that faces more than 663 million people, according to the UN. Lack of access to clean water is not only a health concern, but a social concern as well, because those who do not have the luxury of turning on a tap, must spend countless hours walking to and waiting in line for a water source. This time commitment takes away from hours of daylight that could be spent in school or at a job, leaving entire communities in a cycle of sub-development because they do not have sufficient access to this basic human right.

People gather to fetch water from a huge well in the village of Natwarghad in the western Indian state of Gujarat. Photo: Reuters

Furthermore, water from such distant sources is often contaminated, and many suffer from infectious diseases that can lead to further time out of school or work while searching for medical help or recovering. The UN reports that dirty water and poor sanitation kills 900 under-fives every day across the world. That turns out to one child every two minutes. And among newborn babies, the number is even worse: one death every minute.

A slum dweller keeps an eye open fro trains as she collects water for drinking from a puddle in between railway tracks in Mumbai. Photo: Reuters

This year’s theme for the day is "Why waste water?" The title works twofold, commenting on the need to use our water resources with care, while also referring to the process which we treat our “used” water. Eighty percent of wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture around the world flows back lakes, rivers, and oceans without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. WWD2017 aims to promote the need for reducing and reusing wastewater for things like irrigation and cooling.

Here are three quick tips from the UN to reduce your own wastewater impact:

  1. Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or doing dishes or scrubbing vegetables. Otherwise you’re just making wastewater without even using it!
  2. Put rubbish, oils, chemicals, and food in the bin, not down the drain. The dirtier your wastewater, the more energy and money it costs to treat it.
  3. Collect used water from your kitchen sink or bathtub and use it on plants and gardens, and to wash your bike or car.

If you’re interested in attending an event for World Water Day, visit

Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants who were found drifting at sea collect rain water at a temporary shelter in Myanmar's northern Rakhine state. Photo: AFP

Sources: World Water Day, IB Times, Bless the Water

About the Author
Bachelor's (BA/BS/Other)
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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