The significance of World Water Day
World Water Day was celebrated on March 22, 2021. As per the decision taken at 1992, Earth Summit – Rio (UNCED to raise awareness among the world about the global freshwater crisis, March 22 has been celebrated as Water Day every year since 1993.
Due to the Covid-19 epidemic, Water Day was observed through a global online program led by the United Nations.
The theme of Water Day 2021 was selected – Valuing water.
Taking the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or Agenda 2030 Targets: 6: Water and Sanitation for All by 2030 in the center, the importance of observance and the theme has been selected of this day.
The price of water is much higher than its value – water has huge and complex value for our family, food, culture, health, education, economy, and the existence of our natural environment. If we neglect any of these values, we will destroy this infinite, irreplaceable resource at the risk of mismanagement.
SDG 6 is to ensure water and sanitation for all in the world by 2030. Without our comprehensive understanding of the essentials of water and its multidimensional value, we will not be able to save this critical resource for the world’s benefit.
It is impossible to survive on the Earth without water. People cannot live more than three or four days without drinking water.
Up to 60% of an adult human’s body is water.
Out of all the planets in our solar system, only Earth has water. Hence, there exists life on Earth. Other planets have no water; So there is no life on another planet like Earth.
Water is essential in every aspect of human life. Without water, we cannot move for a moment. Water is needed for the production, processing, and transportation of our daily necessities. Water is life life is water.
On the Earth’s surface, Ocean covers two-third, and one-third is surrounded by land. However, the amount of water available for human consumption and drinking is minimal.
The figure above shows that 97% of the water on Earth is saltwater, and only 3% is freshwater.
Again, in this 3% freshwater, 68.7% is in summation of ice, ice sheets, and glaciers, 30.1% is Groundwater, and only 0.3% is surface freshwater. Of this 0.3% freshwater, only 87% is in various lakes, of which Baikal Lake alone holds half of the world’s freshwater, 11% is in multiple swamps, and only 2% is in the rivers, canals, and water reservoirs for using human.
Therefore, there is little fresh water for human usable and drinking water.
However, this is the amount of water used by the entire 7.8 billion people of the globe, including about 90% of the plant and animals world in the world. We are drinking, using it in our daily life, in agriculture, in the industry, in fish farming. So, how foolishly are we polluting and poisoning it!
We aren’t able to rely on the actual value of water. At present, 2.2 billion people in the world, more than one-fourth of the world’s people, are deprived of potable water.
So, a celebration of World Water Day, March 22, 2021, meant realizing the value of the freshwater we have and knew how to protect this vital resource better.
Water means different things to different people at different levels in the world. Water needs to be effectively protected by determining water’s actual value in all the ways, groups, and stories that benefit human life.
Understanding the actual value of water in human life is the key achievement of the UN’s goal.
The Earth’s temperature is gradually increasing, mainly due to air pollution and water pollution in the industrial and agricultural sectors. The use of fossil fuels such as diesel, petrol, octane, coal for energy production, massive air pollution, and Water pollution is being occurred.
Air pollution and Water pollution are also being appeared in food production, construction works, the collection of building materials, and industrials raw materials. Increasing the production of Green House Gases, i.e., carbon-di-oxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, etc., is causing a gradual increase in global temperature.
As a result, ice, ice sheets, and glaciers, which cause the uninterrupted supply of freshwater globally, are melting rapidly, and the source of fresh water is becoming more and more limited. Already at the top of the world’s mountains, many glaciers have melted and become breathless.
The world’s second-largest Victoria waterfall has already dried up. Upstreams glaciers, mountain ranges, ice melts rapidly at high temperatures, and downstream rivers are gradually depleted and experienced by the drought.
On World Water Day, 2021, the United Nations World Water Development Report 2021 (UN WWDR 2021) on valuing water was published.
It is an annual and thematic report that focuses on various strategic water multidimensional aspects each year and helps policymakers formulate policies to implement sustainable water resource use.
The report is being published simultaneously in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish to benefit a wide range of readers worldwide and from different geographical regions. It covers various regional aspects, important places, events, and stories related to water.
The UN WWDR report was initially triennial, and the first four editions were published jointly with the World Water Forum in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012. The Quarterly Edition provides an overview of the world’s freshwater sources, reservoirs and uses, and management as a whole.
It was reviewed in 2012. To better meet the readers’ needs and reach the readers quickly, it was decided to revise the field of reporting and develop its structure, which is increasingly published annually with more information-based and more specific content.
The theme for World Water Day 2021 is “Valuing Water”, and the theme for World Water Day 2020 was “Water and Climate; Find out how water and climate change are inextricably linked (Water and Climate Change, explores how water and climate change are inextricably linked) and the theme for 2022 will be Groundwater related.
Water is essential at our home and our family life, livelihood, cultural practice, well-being, and local environment. Water means health, wellness, dignity, and productivity in our families, schools, and workplaces, creating water points in cultural, religious, and spiritual places.
Water in natural places means peace, harmony, and conservation. Presently water is under extreme threat from a growing population, growing demand in agriculture and industry, and the increasing effects of climate change.
Economic development and a growing world population mean agriculture and industry are thirsty, and water energy to meet electricity demand is increasing. Climate change is making water more erratic and polluting reservoirs.
The following are some of the cases in which the value of water is infinitely limited:
1. Freshwater Sources – Natural Water Resources and Ecosystems Valuable for Life. The Ecosystem produces all the water, and all the water we use eventually returns to the Ecosystem, coming back with pollutants polluted by us in various ways.
This is our most important ‘Ecosystem Service’. To ensure a good quality water supply and to create resilience to shocks like floods and droughts, higher value has to be paid to protect the environment.
2. Water infrastructure is valuable – Conservation, Medical services, and Supply. Water infrastructure transmits water where it is most needed and returns it to nature after cleaning and purifying human use. Where such infrastructure is inadequate, socio-economic development is declining, and the Ecosystem is endangered.
But in reality, water infrastructure evaluation tends to underestimate the actual value, mainly social and environmental costs. It is difficult to recover all the importance of water by imposing tariffs.
For example, it is not correct to assume that investing in an agricultural irrigation project’s infrastructure will recover its cost only with the price of the crops produced.
It is complex and challenging to determine and realize the value of this investment that adds to the environment, biodiversity, ecology, socio-economic, education-health, etc.
3. Water Services Valuable – Valuable for drinking water, sanitation and health services. The role of water in family, school, workplace, and healthcare facilities is essential. Without water, sanitation, sanitation, and disinfection services are inconceivable in the context of greater health care.
It is never possible to determine the value of this service of water. Our government is providing these services to the people with subsidies – is it ever possible for the people to pay the real value?
Many developing countries in the world are not able to provide these services to their peoples. Therefore, people should realize this service’s actual value and prevent wastage, misuse, and pollution.
4. The value of water contributes to food and agriculture, energy and industry, business and employment – production, and socio-economic activities. Agriculture has the highest demand for water in global freshwater resources, and water plays a major role in preventing environmental degradation.
For example, the practical value of water in agriculture is considered from an economic point of view other than food security. Many of the benefits of improving nutrition, generating income, adapting to climate change, and reducing migration are often not reflected in water costs.
For the energy, industrial and business sectors, issues related to the increase in national expenditure due to water-related factors such as water crisis, floods, and climate change are not considered in many cases. Structural mismanagement of water can damage the Ecosystem.
5. Value of Socio-Cultural Aspects of Water – Water is invaluable for recreational activities, cultural and spiritual uses.
Water is closely related to our ideas of creation, religion, and community. Natural reservoirs provide food to help us feel at peace. Water is an inherent part of every culture. It isn’t easy to pinpoint the value of the activities in which we carry out these programs.
Economies often consider water as a source for human consumption, and its socio-economic and socio-cultural or environmental value is underestimated or ignored.
There is a need to fully understand water’s cultural values by involving more different types of stakeholders in water resources management.
The Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 under the United Nations’ auspices to curb the production of greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
The Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in this century and to keep it below 2 degrees Celsius from before the industrial revolution began in 1750, and reduce carbon dioxide production to zero by 2050.
But the situation of declining carbon dioxide production as per the agreement is very disappointing. The world’s major carbon-producing countries are keeping their promises.
Environmentalists are now pinning their hopes on COP 26 in November this year in the Scottish port city of Glasgow.
Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is playing a vital role in this movement against the world community’s reluctance to reduce carbon emissions.
A closer look reveals that 70% of all the instructions/opinions that our Hon’ble Prime Minister gives in her daily discussions with the government and the international community are related to the environment.
Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheik Hasina is one of the first 5 Prime Ministers in the world who are vocal about the environment and climate. She is the Environmental Prime Minister of the Globe. She is presently the Chairman of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group of 48 Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), and the Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group in Asia Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Pacific. The head and regional offices of several climate-related organizations have already been set up in the capital Dhaka.
Initially, since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750, the world has been plagued by pollution at a geometric rate. The increasing use of fossil fuels in industrial production has led to air pollution, mismanagement of industrial waste, collection of industrial raw materials, communication infrastructure, total human comfort, enjoyment, entertainment, beauty practices, and a growing effort to grow bigger. Our Planet Earth is facing destruction today. The existence of life is gradually disappearing from this world.
If it continues, lie this, why there will be no life in this world, only human beings.
Therefore, to sustain life in this world, the world human society must be alert now, the boundary line of boundless human greed must be drawn now. We need to stop polluting the environment now for future generations.
For our future generations, we should not keep land, not houses, not cars, not wealth, but should make a room so that they can live a good life being on this Earth, sustain their existence – let us pledge to keep every part of the environment free from pollution, including water resources.
We can leave a pollution-free developed world for the next generation; today is World Water Day – this is our vow.