Why every drop counts on World Water Day 2023
World Water Day is an annual event celebrated on March 22nd to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and its sustainable management. This day represents a crucial opportunity to raise public awareness and highlight global water-related issues, as well as to promote concrete actions to combat the imminent water crisis we face.
The proposed theme for World Water Day 2023 is about the value of water, water for all, and a call to act now.
The theme for World Water Day 2023 is „Accelerating Change.” The aim is to encourage people to take action to address the water and sanitation crisis, as it affects all inhabitants of the planet. By changing the way we use and manage water, we can contribute to solving this major problem. Individual commitments and actions will be added to the Water Action Agenda, which will be launched at the United Nations’ Water Conference 2023. This is a unique opportunity for the world to unite around water and accelerate progress. The theme aims to draw attention to the enormous value of water for our lives and the environment, as well as to highlight the need for sustainable use of water resources and the protection of aquatic ecosystems. The theme also emphasizes that water has a social, cultural, and economic value and is essential for all aspects of sustainable human development.
According to a recent report by the Global Commission on the Economy of Water, the world is facing an imminent water crisis, with projected demand expected to exceed the supply of freshwater by 40% by the end of the decade. This crisis is caused by overuse and extraction of water through wasteful agricultural subsidies and industrial practices, as well as climate change and the growing global population.
To address these issues, the report proposes seven key recommendations, including collaboration to manage the global water cycle as a common resource and protect it in our common interest, ensuring safe and sufficient water for vulnerable populations, and implementing appropriate pricing for water and providing targeted support for the poor to promote more efficient, equitable, and sustainable use of water.
The report also calls for a reduction in subsidies of over $700 billion for agriculture and water, which often lead to excessive water consumption and losses in the water supply system, the establishment of „right water partnerships” to provide funding for developing countries to improve water infrastructure and ensure access to drinking water for all, and private sector involvement in water management to improve efficiency and sustainability.
However, not only governments and organizations need to act. Each of us can contribute to the sustainable management of water through measures such as reducing water consumption, repairing water leaks at home, using energy- and water-efficient appliances, supporting sustainable agriculture and efficient irrigation technologies, and supporting organizations working to protect and manage water resources.
The star of the two-minute animated film for World Water Day 2023 is the hummingbird. In the old story, the hummingbird faces a big fire, and instead of standing and watching, it decides to act – trying to put out the fire one drop at a time. The other animals laugh, but she responds: „I’m doing what I can.”
The short film tells the story of the global water and sanitation crisis as if the world were a community of only 100 people.
In this situation, 25 people would have to collect unsafe water from a stream or pond, often far away, or stand in line for hours and pay a high price to a vendor. 22 people would have no choice but to use the toilet in the street, bushes, or fields, or to use unhygienic and dysfunctional latrines.
Half of the local wetland areas would have disappeared in recent decades, and agriculture and industry nearby would use 80% of all available water.
Faced with this global water and sanitation crisis, the message of the hummingbird is to do something, no matter how small. And when more of us are like hummingbirds, our individual actions mean something much greater, helping to accelerate change.
Visit the short film to see what actions for #WaterAction you can take.
Dysfunction in the water cycle affects progress on all major global issues, from health and hunger to gender equality and jobs, education, industry, disasters, and peace. Without addressing the water crisis, it will be impossible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and create a sustainable future for all.
In 2015, the world committed to achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which promises that everyone will have access to safely managed water and sanitation by 2030. However, billions of people and countless schools, businesses, medical centers, farms, and factories are still affected because their human rights to water and sanitation have not yet been met. This means we are seriously out of time to achieve SDG 6.
To accelerate change, we must go beyond „business as usual.” Governments need to work four times faster to achieve SDG 6 on time, but this is not a situation that governments can solve alone. Water affects everyone, so we need everyone to act.
World Water Day represents a unique once-in-a-generation opportunity to unite around water and accelerate progress together. Every individual, family, school, and community can make a difference by changing how they use, consume, and manage water in their lives. Your commitments will be added to the larger-scale commitments of governments, companies, organizations, institutions, and coalitions, which will form the Water Action Agenda, to be launched at the 2023 UN Water Conference.
In conclusion, by working together and taking individual action, we can address the water crisis and create a sustainable future for all.
World Water Day reminds us that freshwater is a precious and vital resource for life on Earth and that we must protect and manage it sustainably to ensure a sustainable future for all.