World Water Day has been celebrated each year on March 22 since 1992. This day focuses on the importance of freshwater and presses for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Besides, the day is aimed at raising awareness about 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water resources globally. According to the UN, global water demand is likely to rise by over 50 per cent by 2040.
The value of water is about much more than its economic value – water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.
Water and Climate Change
Water is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. Water availability is becoming less predictable in many places, and increased incidences of flooding threaten to destroy water points and sanitation facilities and contaminate water sources.
In some regions, droughts are exacerbating water scarcity and thereby negatively impacting people’s health and productivity. Ensuring that everyone has access to sustainable water and sanitation services is a critical climate change mitigation strategy for the years ahead.
Higher temperatures and more extreme, less predictable, weather conditions are projected to affect availability and distribution of rainfall, snowmelt, river flows and groundwater, and further deteriorate water quality. Low-income communities, who are already the most vulnerable to any threats to water supply are likely to be worst affected.
More floods and severe droughts are predicted. Changes in water availability will also impact health and food security and have already proven to trigger refugee dynamics and political instability.