World Water Day
Water - life on Earth could not exist without it. All living things need water, and the human body is made up of about 60% water, and it is also one of the most abundant substances on our planet, giving rise to the term "the Blue Planet".
This week is Water week in South Africa and the UN World Water day is on Monday 22 March.
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), and so the World Water day was born - every year it is celebrated on March 22nd.
Each year there is a different theme for World Water Day. This year's theme is water quality, reflecting the importance of quality alongside quantity of the resource in water management. The slogan for this years theme sums up this years message, “Clean Water for a Healthy World”.
With recent concerns over water quality making headlines, this year's theme is more apt than ever.
According to waterday.org, "nearly one billion people around the world don't have clean drinking water, and 2.6 billion still lack basic sanitation."
In other parts of the world however, there is an abundance of fresh water and "every year, 1,500 cubic kilometers of wastewater are produced globally. While waste and wastewater can be reused productively for energy and irrigation, it usually is not. In developing countries 80 percent of all waste is being discharged untreated, because of lack of regulations and resources."
Water quality is an important measure touching on all aspects of ecosystems and human well-being such as the health of a community, food to be produced, economic activities, ecosystem health and biodiversity. We usually only notice how important it is when we do not have it. Just look at parts of the Eastern Cape where they have less than three percent of water left in their dams.
"Worldwide, water quality is declining mainly due to human activities. Increasing population growth, rapid urbanization, the discharge of new pathogens and new chemicals from industries and invasive species are key factors that contribute to the deterioration of water quality." [worldwaterday.org]
According to the UN water website, “in addition, climate change will further affect water quality. Major risks are the lack of water quality data and monitoring worldwide as well as lack of knowledge about the potential impact of natural and man made pollutants on the environment and on water quality. The lack of prioritization of water quality in many countries has resulted in decreased allocation of resources, weak institutions and lack of coordination in addressing water quality challenges.
This week South Africans were challenged that we must do more to save water. That’s the call from Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Buyelwa Sonjica as the country celebrates National Water Week which runs from 15-21 March 2010.