new Delhi: World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March every year since 1993 to raise awareness about the importance of fresh water. About 2.2 billion people are living without access to safe water.
This year’s theme is ‘Groundwater, Making the Invisible Visible’ to draw attention to the invisible but influential resource, groundwater. World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
What is groundwater?
According to the United Nations, almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater, with most arid regions dependent on it. Groundwater is water found underground that comes primarily from rain and snowfall in aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sand and gravel that contain substantial amounts of water. Groundwater feeds springs, rivers, lakes and wetlands, and seeps into the oceans.
Groundwater supplies the bulk of the water we use for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes. It is also critically important for the healthy functioning of ecosystems such as wetlands and rivers, which is why it is important to protect groundwater.
History and significance behind World Water Day:
The idea of this International Day dates back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development took place in Rio de Janeiro. In the same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 22 March each year as the World Day for Water, which was to be celebrated in 1993.
A new World Water Development Report is released each year on or near World Water Day, intended to provide decision-makers with tools to formulate and implement sustainable water policies. The report is coordinated by UNESCO’s World Water Development Program (WWAP) on behalf of UN-Water.
In her message on the occasion of World Water Day 2022, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said, “As the planet adapts to a changing climate and growing population, groundwater will play an essential role in meeting the growing demand for food and drinking water. Yet this essential resource faces serious risks – including inadequate protection and sometimes irreversible pollution. For all these reasons, on World Water Day 2022, UNESCO is celebrating this essential resource – because of the improved access to groundwater. Safety and management is our collective responsibility and is in our collective interest.”
What can be done to conserve ground water?
- What we do on the surface matters underground. We should only keep harmless, biodegradable products on the soil and use the water as efficiently as possible.
- Groundwater must be thoroughly explored, analyzed and monitored as it is difficult to measure.
- It should be protected from over-exploitation as it recharges only by rain and snow.
- Concrete grounds make it difficult for water to seep through, so it is very important to think of solutions to leave open fields for example gardens.
- At home, use native plants as opposed to plants from different regions that have different needs.
- If your taps are dripping, fix them because every drop counts, don’t let the water overflow, only use as much as you need.
- Wash your clothes sensibly, only wash the full load if you are using a washing machine, the same goes for the dishwasher.
- take shorter showers.
- Try to look for natural alternatives rather than chemicals, especially in your garden.