World Water Day 2021: Water demand is increasing, but do you value water? Here is what you need to know about this day

The United Nations data has pointed out that 2.2 BILLION PEOPLE are currently living without access to safe water and this is something that needs action.

Till this is fixed, India’s water crisis will continue to worsen.
Till this is fixed, India’s water crisis will continue to worsen. (Representative image)

Save Water Save Life! Save every drop of water, the world depends on it! These are some slogans that are taught and used widely in schools across countries. Until, one finally understands what they stand for and why exactly there is a dire need to save water. Internationally, March 22 is being celebrated as World Water Day every year since 1993 in order to raise awareness regarding the importance of freshwater. The United Nations data has pointed out that 2.2 BILLION PEOPLE are currently living without access to safe water and this is something that needs action. Therefore, focusing on tackling this global water crisis becomes imperative.

What World Water Day stands for?

The UN said that the basic idea of celebrating this day is to raise awareness as well as to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 which aims at providing water and sanitation for each and everyone by 2030.

History behind World Water Day

Back in 1992, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro was held and it was decided by the United Nations General Assembly that each year, March 22 will be observed as World Water Day starting from 1993. In order to maximise the reach many events were added and along with recognition of many projects. Some of the recognitions included the current International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028 and International Year of Cooperation in the Water Sphere 2013. According to the UN, these observances are necessary in reaffirming that water and sanitation measures are taken leading to economic growth, poverty reduction, and environmental sustainability.

Some important aspects about water

  • As of now, 1 in every 3 people do not have access to safe drinking water.
  • With global energy demand expected to increase by 25 per cent by 2040, water demand is also expected to increase by 50 per cent.
  • There will be around 5.7 billion people that are expected to live in areas where there is scarcity of water for at least one month in a year. This is pegged to happen by 2050.
  • The cause of more than 90 per cent of major disasters that took place in over a decade can be attributed to extreme weather.

What primary benefits the UN projected if there is more focus on the environment?

According to the UN, focus on climate-resilient water supply as well as sanitation can help “save the lives of more than 360,000 infants every year.” Apart from this, focus on limiting global warming at least to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, there is a possibility that the climate-induced water stress can be reduced by up to 50 per cent.

Valuing Water

The UN’s focus for World Water Day this year is all about valuing waters and urging people across the globe to do the same. The UN is asserting that the value of water is much more than its cost as the naturally occurring resource has enormous and complex value, not just for health and households, but for culture, education, economics as well as the integrity of the natural environment. “If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource. SDG 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all. Without a comprehensive understanding of water’s true, multidimensional value, we will be unable to safeguard this critical resource for the benefit of everyone,” the UN noted.

Meanwhile, the UN also iterated some lessons that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought in the picture, with focus on how lack of access to water can result in hygiene issues, further damaging the long-term prospects of any country. Not to forget, everyone around the world is being asked to keep washing their hands with soap and water, thanks to the novel Coronavirus.

What is India’s focus on conserving water this year?

This year, India is launching a campaign called ‘Catch the Rain’ which emphasizes the need of rainwater harvesting. In the last episode of Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of campaign by Jal Shakti Mantralaya. It will start on March 22 and the idea is to ‘Catch the rain when it falls and where it falls.’ According to Modi, the government body will focus on repairing the rain water harvesting systems, cleaning up village stepwells, ponds and removing all kinds of blockages from the water bodies. He also urged Indians to focus on their nearby areas and take measures to save water.

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First published on: 22-03-2021 at 09:16 IST