23 Mar 2017

World Water Day 2017: drawing attention to wasting water

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day.

Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home. One of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 6, includes several targets to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty. World Water Day is supported by organizations, institutions, programmes and stakeholders across the globe. Events, celebrations and campaigns are organized in order to raise money for access to clean and affordable water.

Those organisations active in the so-called #WASH sector (Water, Sanitation, Hygiene) use the celebration to raise awareness about water-related issues, water crises and access to water, especially in developing countries. The UN and its member nations also dedicate this day to implementing UN recommendations regarding water resources.

Each year UN water, the United Nations Inter-Agency Mechanism on all Freshwater-related issues, selects a theme highlighting important aspects of freshwater.

This year’s theme is “Why waste water?”, drawing attention to the importance of wastewater in reaching Sustainable Development Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation).

Instead of being wasted, the UN agency maintains, wastewater could be reused on gardens, plots and green spaces and it can help addressing other challenges including food production and industrial development.

UN Water also released a factsheet to celebrate the day.

Among other things, it stresses that “farmers are increasingly looking into non-conventional water resources, mainly wastewater, whether due to its high nutrient content or lack of conventional water resources. If applied safely, wastewater is a valuable source of both water and nutrients, contributing to wa¬ter and food security and livelihood improvements.”