World Water Day 2021

Lauren Moriarty & Monalisa Booysen
22 March 2021


Valuing Water

World Water Day takes place March 22nd every year, and has since 1993. This day focuses on themes highlighting the importance of freshwater resources as coordinated by the United Nations, where this year’s theme is “Valuing water”. World Water Day aims to support the Sustainable Development Goal number 6 of water and sanitation for all by the year 2030, through raising awareness and taking action against the water crisis experienced around the world. There are approximately 2.2 billion people around the world that are living without proper sanitation and access to clean drinking water.

Water makes up approximately 75% of the planet, however, this is not all freshwater which is a highly sought after commodity. Due to its limited resource the use and abstraction process of freshwater can have damaging impacts on freshwater ecosystems. The value of water is however, more than the price but rather the context to which people themselves value its uses and importance, such that it is essential in improving the health and welfare of populations as well as reducing disease and increasing productivity. Understanding these uses and value of our global freshwater resources enable us to practice sustainable use and protect this finite resource for everyone.

So how can you make small changes that add up to make a big impact?

  • Fix any leaks asap! Billions of litres of water are wasted by fault pumps and poor maintenance.
  • Choose shower over bathing where possible, it uses approximately 50% less water
  • Use of grey water and rainwater can help in garden and home practices
  • Don’t let the taps run!
  • Try install water-saving tools such as low flush toilet systems and eco-friendly washing techniques.

Human Rights and Water

It is everyone’s right to have access to the basic essentials which include water for sanitation and safe drinking water in a sufficient quantity and quality. This was recognised as a human right by the United Nations General Assembly on the 28th of July 2010.

“The human right to safe drinking water entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have access to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible, and affordable water for personal and domestic use.” - United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in General Comment 15 drafted in 2002

Water can mean many different things to different people - economically, socially, culturally, in daily living, education, health, the natural environment and many other aspects are all important to take into consideration while trying to raise awareness and protect this precious resource. Only by acknowledging and celebrating the value of water to our lives and all its benefits can we then truly manage and safeguard it for the future. Water is an intrinsic part to everyone’s life, where water and sanitation are vital to protect individual's health and wellbeing. Water also has an important socio-cultural impact in people’s lives, whether it be culturally or recreationally. However, our natural freshwater resources and ecosystems are facing great threats from degradation such as those caused by agricultural practices which has the largest demand on these freshwater resources, climate change and the way we manage, and supply water further threatens to endanger these valuable ecosystems.

So what does water mean to you and how are you speaking up about water practices in your local area? 



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Beautiful view of the Groot River from a canoe -2021/03/22