Water– a resource easily taken for granted by so many– is a critical necessity of all life. Humans, animals, and plants all need water to survive. In the United States and many other parts of the world, we can access water by turning a tap, however, that isn’t the case everywhere else. In many parts of the world, people will walk miles to collect water taking valuable time from other activities, like school or a job.
It’s more than water – proper sanitation and hygiene are grouped in with water under Sustainable Development Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all people. In 2015, 4.9 billion people globally used an improved sanitation facility; while 2.4 billion did not. Proper sanitation and hygiene require access to an improved sanitation facility (meaning there is a connection to a public sewer or to a septic system and could be a pour-flush latrine, a simple pit latrine, or a ventilated improved pit latrine)1 and hand-washing systems and practices.
At the close of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, 6.6 billion people, or 91 percent of the global population, used an improved drinking-water source versus 82 percent in 2002. And 68 percent of the global population was using improved sanitation facilities compared to 59 percent in 2002. Sustainable Development Goal 6 requires improved and secured access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities under its umbrella, but also includes water resource system management and protection of water ecosystems.
While there is an increasing proportion globally who have access to proper sanitation, fresh water is now becoming increasingly scarce. It is one of the most precious resources on our planet, but it is threatened every day by mismanagement, misuse, and the global climate crisis. There are many threats to our fresh water supply, but the most dangerous put entire ecosystems at risk. The most serious being increased salinity levels in water tables; water ecosystem mismanagement including the diversion of rivers, pollution of water bodies, the disappearance of wetlands; but also the haphazard use of water in industrial agriculture and industry, alike. Water plays a critical role in many ecosystems and the disruption of those flows has a serious impact on all life. While you can do your part to conserve water by changing your everyday consumption patterns, encouraging others to also do the same will limit how much water is squandered in the production of material goods.
Every year we celebrate World Water Day on March 22. This year, consider how you can get involved on World Water Day: hold a fundraising event, or share some water facts on social media. Our partner, Water For People, kicks off their spring fundraising drive on the 22nd, consider donating to continue their mission of everyone, forever.
Need a refresher about how awesome Water For People is, or want something to share with your chapter and friends? This video is available to share.