drinking water, drought, film, groundwater, international, outreach, sustainability, united nations, water availability

World Water Day to Highlight the Global Water Crisis

About 4,500 children die each day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities. – UNICEF


‘A mother in Delhi, India, helps her son drink from a public tanker on World Water Day 2007’, photo on BBC News.

World Water Day 2008

Events happening across the globe draw international attention to a lack of available and clean drinking water supplies on World Water Day, whether celebrating March 20th (as so noted in this post on Water Wired) or on the typical March 22nd.

According to the United Nations, this year’s World Water Day theme will emphasize ‘Sanitation’ to coincide with the designated International Year of Sanitation.

Confusion about the date of the event this year (to account for a religious holiday on the weekend) certainly has not hindered many from observing the need to focus on global water issues.

March 20th Events (to name a few)

Global Water Challengeand Ashoka’s Changemakers invite people to submit entries for the competition to solve the global water crisis: “Tapping Local Innovation: Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis“. One million dollars in funding is available to help implement these projects, and entries are due by March 26, 2008.

Shekhar Kapur launches a blog on Changemakers.net inspired by his latest film, ‘Paani’ (Water), which will examine the daily struggle for water in the slums of Mumbai.

The Our World – Our Water group on Flickr is launched to encourage those from around the world to share photos and stories about water.

March 22nd Events (to name a few)

WaterPartners Village — a virtual exploration of the water crisis — will launch across social networking sites like Second Life on World Water Day. A virtual concert, with proceeds to support global water organizations, will start at 5:00 pm (PDT) on March 22, 2008 at the WaterPartners Village stage.

Worldwaterday.net is organizing events across the United States that observe World Water Day including organized walks to raise money for the global water crisis.

Gramalaya in association with WaterPartners International and WaterAid – UK is organising World Water Day 2008 in Tamil Nadu, India. The event will be attended by more than 20,000 women from 430 villages and 186 slums in Tiruchi City will be participating. The event will be telecast at Suryan FM 93.5.

WorldWaterDay.org features events happening across the globe and on the Internet.

The Film Connection supports World Water Day by featuring several films about water for viewing and discussion about global water issues. ‘With this film program, we invite you to take a closer look at how individuals experience and utilize this diminishing resource.’

The above poster is part of an outreach campaign by the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

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drinking water, international, united nations

International Year Of Sanitation 2008

The United Nations General Assembly declares 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. This declaration will assist progress on one of the eight Millennium Development Goals that aims to provide sanitation infrastructure to half of all people in the world without such by 2015. Several UN partners are supporting this measure including UNICEF, UNEP, UNDESA, UNDP, UN-Habitat, UN-Water, to name a few.


Over 40% of people (2.6 billion and almost one million children) throughout the world do not have adequate sanitation facilities, such as bathrooms or ample water supplies. Frequently, deaths occur because deficient sanitation often encourages the spreading of illnesses such as diarrhea, cholera, worms, pneumonia, and malnutrition.

Check the UN web-site for more information on International Year of Sanitation projects.

asia, climate change, india, united nations

Nepal Discontent Over Climate Change Talks in Bali

Nepal is a land on the edge of the mighty Himalayas. Although rather small, only the size of Arkansas, Nepal is known the world over for Mount Everest which is the highest mountain globally at an elevation of 29,029 feet.

As the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wraps-up in Bali, Nepali officials are worried water supplies may become even more stressed with loss of glacial sources in the Hindu-Kush. Their concerns are exasperated with the hesitancy of the US and Canada to agree to any definitive carbon emission cessation.

Water shortages in Nepal are nothing new. The diverse elevation and terrain leaves lowlands hot and humid while alpine regions are cold and remote. Sanitation and water infrastructure have continuously presented difficulties in places such as Madhyapur Thimi and areas of Kathmandu Valley. Approximately 13,000 children die each year from lack of potable water.

Individuals who reside in mountainous regions in Nepal use less than 5 liters (1.3 gallons) of water per day. Still Nepal’s rivers, driven by snow-melt, are already showing signs of decreasing flows. Further, water wars are expected to ensue between many countries that rely on glacial melt in the Himalayas for water supply including India and China.

A step in the right direction, organizations such as Nepal Water For Health are encouraging better access to sanitation and utilization of alternative water supply systems such as rainwater collection and fog collection systems (such as the one depicted below), and water conservation measures as drip irrigation.

united nations

UN GEO-4 Report Released, Outlook for Water Dire

No, not a radical environmental group sounding the call this time around. It is the United Nations – Environment Programme with the recent release of the report: UNEP Global Environmental Outlook: Environment for Development (GEO-4). This report assesses the state of the planet since 1987, and was drafted by over 390 experts in the field of environmental studies. It was just released Thursday, October 25, 2007.

Sadly, the outlook on the world’s water is dire. The report warns that a combination of rises in global population, unsustainable agricultural practices, increased degradation of water quality, and climate change will decrease water availability worldwide. Two billion people could face water scarcity by 2025.

A continuing challenge for the management of water resources and aquatic ecosystems is to balance environmental and developmental needs. It requires a sustained combination of technology, legal and institutional frameworks, and, where feasible, market-based approaches. – GEO-4

To order a paperback copy of the report, see Earthprint.com or download a copy for free on-line at this UNEP web-page.