World Water Day is about taking action to tackle the water crisis and in turn, giving women back time.
Vanita is a thirty-two year old housewife living in Mumbai with three sons and one daughter. Like many women, she spends a lot of time each day waiting for water and doing domestic duties like laundry and washing dishes. She sews clothes to sell at the market and uses the money to pay her daughter’s school fees to ensure that she gets an education. Time is of the essence for her, in more ways than one.
Perhaps you can relate to Vanita’s need for more time? Imagine having to take time out of your day out of necessity to get something so vital to your family’s destiny. It’s a fact that at every stage in life, the absence of safe water takes opportunities away from women and young girls. There are currently over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water.
The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty this World Water Day.
This year the theme of #WorldWaterDay is wastewater. Globally, 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water and poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
What can we do? World Water Day seeks to find solutions.
- Technology is helping to make mobile innovation a prime platform for development in the water sector. Your cell phone is helping to spread and collect information.
- Governments can ensure this commitment is reflected in national plans to achieve affordable, sustainable, safe access to water, sanitation and hygiene for everyone as soon as possible and at least by 2030.
- NGOs and civil society must continue to monitor progress and hold governments to account for achieving 100% access to water, sanitation and hygiene, and meaningfully participate in planning, delivering and verifying services.
- Businesses should engage in public-private partnerships to address issues across water, sanitation and hygiene.
- Communities must be involved and given a full role in all decisions that affect their water resources.
UN Water is encouraging organizations, community groups and individuals around the world to hold local events to inform people about and celebrate water. You can upload your event or find out about ones happening near you by visiting UN Water.
If you care, and we all should, be sure to take action on this World Water Day and every day moving forward.
Header photo credit: UN Photo/Victoria Hazou