World Water Day: Celebrating Water for Life

World Water Day poster. Photo Credit: worldwaterday2006.org

By Katelin Haley
Peace & Justice Editor

Each morning you wake up, take a shower, brush your teeth with water from the faucet, drink a glass of water with your breakfast, and wash your dishes.  You might take a water bottle with you to class and fill it up at any of the numerous water fountains across campus.  If you attend a religious service, you might utilize water in the ceremony.  Each time you use the rest room and wash your hands, you have no fears about the sewage entering your drinking water.  You are confident that the water you are using for each of these tasks is healthy, clean, and even fortified with minerals to make it better for you.  Over one billion people worldwide do not have this luxury and spend their mornings walking miles to a source of water, painstakingly tracking each use and hoping that they and their families do not get any illnesses from contaminated water.  March 22, World Water Day, is a day for people across the globe to celebrate the necessity of water in our daily lives and work towards bringing clean water to everyone across the globe.

World Water day was founded in 1992 in after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.  Later, the years 2005-2015 were declared the UN international Decade for Action: Water for Life to instill some sense of urgency and encourage action on the issues surrounding access to safe and clean drinking water.  Since its establishment, World Water Day has had a different focus each year with the focus for 2009 being transboundary water.  Transboundary water is any body of water that lies between two countries.  The shared water border can lead to conflicts with ownership, cleanliness, and rights to access. Over 200 treaties have been signed regarding transboundary water in the past fifty years.

Water is a necessity for living and is the root of many of the worlds social injustices.  Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized the necessity of water by saying “we shall not defeat AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria or any of the other infectious diseases that plague the developing world until we have also won the battle for safe drinking water, sanitation, and basic health care.”  Water is essential in each of those battles and is essential for every part of our daily lives.  It takes about 3,000 liters of water to produce your daily food intake, 1,000 times what you need for drinking purposes.  A person can live without food for several weeks, but can only survive without water for several days.  Over 4,000 children die each day from a lack of safe drinking water.  Water related natural disasters claimed the lives of 665,000 people in the years 1991-2000.  Water is the place where diseases, parasites, and infectious agents can spread and directly enter the body.  Lack of water leads to dehydration and malnutrition, as no sustainable crop can be made without water.  By providing the simple necessity of water, billions of lives could be saved each year.  Recognize World Water day this year by celebrating each time you use water and working to get water to those in need.

Do your part each day by turning off the water when you brush your teeth, fixing leaky faucets, and taking shorter showers.
Look for events on campus later in the semester to help bring water to those in need.