World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as World Day for Water.
This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since; for the general public to show support, it is encouraged for the public to not use their taps throughout the whole day, the day has become a popular Facebook trend.
The UN and its member nations devote this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting concrete activities within their countries regarding the world’s water resources. Each year, one of various UN agencies involved in water issues takes the lead in promoting and coordinating international activities for World Water Day. Since its inception in 2003, UN-Water has been responsible for selecting the theme, messages and lead UN agency for the World Day for Water.
In addition to the UN member states, a number of NGOs promoting clean water and sustainable aquatic habitats have used World Day for Water as a time to focus public attention on the critical water issues of our era. Every three years since 1997, for instance, the World Water Council has drawn thousands to participate in its World Water Forum during the week of World Day for Water. Participating agencies and NGOs have highlighted issues such as a billion people being without access to safe water for drinking and the role of gender in family access to safe water. In 2003, 2006 and 2009, the UN World Water Development Report was launched on the occasion of the World Water Day. The fourth Report is expected to be released around 22 March 2012
Water Day, by the years
2012: Water and Food Security: The World is Thirsty Because We are Hungry Official Website http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday
Coordinated by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The visual identity and communication campaign is by UN-Water. It is in conjunction with a one-day event organised by EU Minister for Water Stephen Tummon who has organised a one-day event to raise awareness about water, called “Aquatic Picnic”. On the matter, Tummon said; “It’s incredible how many people don’t know that water actually exists, I first learnt about “water” in 2009 and my life hasn’t been the same since. Thats what #aquapic (sic) is all about”
On the occasion of 2012 World Water Day, the ICRC is calling attention to the water-related challenges faced by civilians caught up in fighting.
2011: Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge.
Coordinated by UN-HABITAT. The visual identity and communication campaign is by FAO WATER, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Water section.
2010: Clean Water for a Healthy World
Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The communication and visual identity campaign is by FAO WATER, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Water section.
Official website of the World Day for Water 2010: http://www.worldwaterday2010.info/
UN-Water is dedicating World Water Day 2010 to the theme of water quality, reflecting its importance alongside quantity of the resource in water management.
Clean water and war: in time of war the access to clean water is frequently restricted because water supply or purification systems have been destroyed, because water reserves are located in areas that have become dangerous or because of massive displacement. People ultimately resort to sources of water with a high health risk and many people contract water-borne diseases.
2009: Trans Waters
Coordinated by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), with the assistance of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Water section.
Official website of the World Day for Water 2009: http://www.unwater.org/wwd09
UNESCO webpage on the World Day for Water: http://www.unesco.org/water/water_celebrations/
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/page/2542
On the occasion of 2009 World Day for Water, the ICRC called on governments to ensure safe water and decent sanitation for civilians in conflict zones. In many conflicts, disease kills more civilians than bullets.
Coordinated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The World Day for Water 2008 also coincides with the International Year of Sanitation (2008), which was organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) in collaboration with the UN-Water Task Force on Sanitation.
Official website of the World Day for Water 2008: http://www.unwater.org/wwd08
Official website of the International Year of Sanitation: http://esa.un.org/iys/
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/page/2095
On 21 March 2008, The Guardian Weekly published a special report on World Day for Water.OMG
2007: Coping With Water Scarcity
Coordinated by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). 2007’s theme highlighted the increasing significance of water scarcity worldwide and the need for increased integration and cooperation to ensure sustainable, efficient and equitable management of scarce water resources, both at international and local levels.
Official website of the World Day for Water 2007: http://www.unwater.org/wwd07
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/page/1036
2006: Water and Culture
Coordinated by United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO). The theme ‘Water and Culture’ of 2006 drew the attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using, and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world.
Official website of the World Day for Water 2006: http://www.unesco.org/water/wwd2006/
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/page/715
2005: Water for Life 2005–2015
Coordinated by the United Nations (UN). The United Nations General Assembly at its 58th session in December 2003 agreed to proclaim the years 2005 to 2015 as the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life” (Water for Life Decade), and beginning with World Water Day, 22 March 2005.The Water for Life decade set the world’s goals on “a greater focus on water-related issues, while striving to ensure the participation of women in water-related development efforts, and further cooperation at all levels to achieve water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration, Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development and Agenda 21.”
Official website of the International Decade for Action, “Water for Life”: http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/2005
2004: Water and Disasters
Coordinated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR). The message of the Day was: Weather, climate and water resources can have a devastating impact on socio-economic development and on the well-being of humankind. According to the World Meteorological Organization, weather and climate-related extreme events, such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, storms, cyclones, floods and drought, account for nearly 75 per cent of all disasters. They lead to an enormous toll of human suffering, loss of life and economic damage. Monitoring these events, predicting their movements and issuing timely warnings are essential to mitigate the disastrous impact of such events on population and economy.
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/2004/
2003: Water for Future
Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Water for the Future was the theme for World Water Day 2003. It called on each one of us to maintain and improve the quality and quantity of fresh water available to future generations. The goal was to inspire political and community action and encourage greater global understanding of the need for more responsible water use and conservation.
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/2003/
2002: Water for Development
Coordinated by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The theme for 2002, ‘Water for Development,’ carried the message that the poor and deteriorating state of water resources in many parts of the world demand integrated water resources planning and management.
Official website for the World Day for Water 2002: http://waterday2002.iaea.org/
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/2002/
2001: Water for Health
Coordinated by the World Health Organization (WHO). The message for the day was: “Concrete efforts are necessary to provide clean drinking water and improve health as well as to increase awareness world-wide of the problems and of the solutions. 22 March is a unique occasion to remind everybody that solutions are possible. Use the resources on this site to help turn words into political commitment and action.”
Official website of the World Day for Water 2001: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/2001/
2000: Water for the 21st century
Coordinated by United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO).
Further information: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/2000/
1999: Everyone Lives Downstream
Coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The 1999 World Water Day’s primary message is that when it comes to using freshwater, human beings, whether they live in a village or a megacity, cannot isolate themselves from their neighbours. Rather, there are fundamental linkages and dependencies between water users and uses in a given drainage basin that affect everyone in that basin.
Official website of the World Day for Water 1999: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/1999/
1998: Groundwater – The Invisible Resource
Coordinated by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Nearly half of the world’s population depends on groundwater sources for drinking water supply and for other uses. The UN is concerned about three primary gaps in groundwater management which have enormous implications for sustainable development: (1) The accelerated degradation of groundwater systems, through pollution of aquifers. (2) The lack of both professional and public awareness about the sustainable use and economic importance of groundwater resources generally. (3) The economic implications of not resolving groundwater demand and supply management.
Official website of the World Day on Water 1998: http://www.worldwaterday.org/wwday/1998/
1997: The World’s Water: Is there enough?
Coordinated by United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO)and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The message for the World Day for Water 1997 was that water is a basic requirement for all life, yet water resources are facing more and more demands from, and competition among, users.
1996: Water for Thirsty Cities
World Day for Water 1996 emphasized the growing water crisis faced by cities across the world which threatens the sustainability of their social and economic development.
1995: Women and Water
1994: Caring for our Water Resources is Everybody’s Business