World Water Day occurs annually on the 22nd March and focuses on the importance of freshwater globally.
Coordinated by United Nations-Water, the aim of World Water Day is to celebrate safe water and to raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people currently living without access to it. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: ‘water and sanitation for all by 2030’ is a key focus of World Water Day, one of the most vital SDGs we also work towards at CO2balance.
Each year there is a different theme for World Water Day – this year’s is valuing water.
The 2021 public campaign utilised social media to share a set of simple questions worldwide to learn about how water is valued in different ways globally, with aspects such as cultures and religions playing a role.
These questions included:
- What does water mean to you?
- What role does water play in your home, workplace, or school?
- What role will water play in your future?
- What do you use the most water for?
- How does water affect the food you eat?
Responses were mainly submitted by using the hashtag #Water2me on social media posts. In total, more than 6,000 public social media conversations on blogs, LinkedIn, Instagram, news, Facebook, Twitter and Reddit were documented and analysed from 140 countries.
The key points which came up in responses were:
Protecting water is everyone’s responsibility
This message was prominent across the responses received. The importance of individuals conserving water themselves during daily activities in addition to governments and authorities increasing efforts to protect it were highlighted.
Water is life
Another clear theme was that water is essential to human life. Responses from people in poorer countries highlighted that access to safe water is crucial in maintaining health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Water is a human right
Responses showed that access to water is considered a human right and a key foundation for additional human rights across rich and poor countries. Inequality in safe water access was considered a key issue to be solved.
Water is life for the environment and ecosystems
The vital link between water and the environment was recognised amongst respondents, with many highlighting its importance in allowing all ecosystems to flourish. Participants recognised the impact of climate change on the accessibility of safe water and the conservation and restoration of wetlands were considered as measures of adaptation.
There will be no food without water
The connection between food and water was especially mentioned in terms of how a lack of general and safe water affects agriculture. The importance of reducing food waste was highlighted as a measure for lowering water usage.
Through creating a comprehensive understanding of how water is valued and viewed in different cultures and contexts, the campaign aims to better safeguard the resource for everyone.
Read more about the responses and analysis here.