March 22, 2019
Water for everyone by 2030. This is the theme of this year’s World Water Day, which, like every year, will be celebrated on March 22. Although it is one of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, it is also a moral obligation.
So, on the day that will be dedicated to this precious resource, the rallying cry will be: Leaving No One Behind. Because everyone has the right to safe, accessible and affordable water, without discrimination.
It is an ambitious goal given how billions of people still do not have access to potable water, whether it be at home, at school or at work, according to the website set up for the day. And it is invariably the least available among the weakest: children, women, refugees and the disabled.
But providing water to everyone also entails conservation in all its facets, as was emphasised during last year’s World Water Day, whose focus was on solutions found in nature to reduce floods, drought and pollution.
There are, for example, what are called nature-based solutions (NBS) that help improve the quality and supply of water. They include reforestation and the protection of wetlands that keep in balance the cycle of water and minimise the effects of climate change and improve living conditions.
These solutions are crucial for the future of the planet, contributing to the creation of a circular economy. Although they alone cannot solve this complex, global challenge, the solutions can assist in meeting the demand for water from a growing population.
There are many other examples of solutions that rely more on nature than technology. In arid and semi-arid countries, dams made of sand are an efficient way of guaranteeing water conservation for domestic use or farming, especially when they are accompanied by pumps powered by solar panels.
In China, the government is having 16 cities – nicknamed “sponge” cities - adopt pilot projects to capture and use up to 70% of rainwater by 2020 by making themselves more green: permeable sidewalks, parks, trees, rooftop plants, and other features that can prevent flooding.
In much the same way, there is what is called conservation agriculture. Its benefits have been tested throughout the world, from small farming plots Africa to large plantations in Brazil. It allows for the saving of up to 50% of water by following three principles, as described by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, it is a system that promotes minimal mechanical soil disturbance, permanent soil organic cover and species diversification.
Every year the World Water Day sees the publication of a series of figures to help understand the state of affairs.
SOURCE: World Water Day 2019 – Factsheet
The latest celebration of this important day will renew the call to arms to reduce the waste of water, increase its reuse and protect it from pollution. It is a battle to be waged alongside Nature.