World Water Day is March 22.
On this day, we focus our attention on the importance of water for life and the need to preserve this precious resource.
The theme for this year's UN World Water Day is Water and Climate Change. There are several important connections between water and climate change:
- Pollution, drought and changing weather conditions exacerbate the global shortage of clean water as the world's population grows. Better, more sustainable management of fresh water resources is becoming critical in order to preserve this precious resource and ensure that the world's most vulnerable people do not experience the brunt of the water shortage. According to the UN, this will include creating climate-smart agricultural techniques and better wastewater management.
- Oceans and wetlands are a major "carbon sinks," absorbing the extra carbon in the atmosphere. Preserving these ecosystems becomes vital as the threat of climate change increases.
- Several climate change mitigation strategies, including the use of biofuels, require extra water. We need to ensure that our efforts to protect the climate do not deplete our global water resources.
Water and climate change are intimately related. Thinking about the future of water management is a large piece of responding to the climate crisis.
The UN states as many as 2.1 billion people have no safe water at home. And almost two-thirds of the world’s people have problems finding water in at least one month of the year. Of those who use unsafe water, some 80 percent live in rural areas. One in four school children don’t have drinking water at school, forcing them to resort to using unprotected sources or not drinking water at all. And if trends continue, an estimated 700 million people across the world could have to leave their homes by 2030 because of a lack of access to water, the UN stated.
Those who lack reliable access to water already are at greater risk for water shortage as climate change continues.
What you can do
- Read Maryknoll Lay Missioner Flavio Rocha's article, "Laudato Si' and Water," about the spiritual nature of water and the scarcity of it in many parts of the world.
- Take water-related climate actions, such as taking shorter showers, and log them on the UN Act Now campaign page. Find ideas for climate actions on the Act Now page.
Photo of children carrying water in Haiti available on Pixabay.