Celebrating World Water Day

With spring comes a rush of environment-related holidays and celebrations, the first of which is World Water Day! Held annually on March 22, the United Nations chooses a different theme for each holiday.


What do I need to know about World Water Day?

World Water Day is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. Today, 1.8 billion people rely on a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

One of the Sustainable Development Goals is to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a big issue in the fight to eliminate extreme poverty.

Credit: World Water Day

UN Water explains their focus on wastewater:

Globally, the vast majority of all wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.

Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it.

  • In our homes, we can reuse greywater on our gardens and plots. 
  • In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces. 
  • In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation. 

By exploiting this valuable resource, we will make the water cycle work better for every living thing. 

What can I do to celebrate World Water Day?

You can take a few easy actions today, or in the coming weeks, to keep the idea of cleaner water at the top of your mind. We may not be able to change city wastewater processes on an individual level, but you can do research to see how your city does handle wastewater.

  • Incorporate a rain barrel into your yard, so you can use natural water instead of city-treated potable water for your plants.
  • Conserve your toilet flushing. (Yes, it's a little gross, but think about those who don't have access to clean water. They face a lot grosser.)
  • While not necessarily related to wastewater, you can conserve your general water use by taking shorter showers, not filling the tub up as much for a bath, turning the water off while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and only running the washer/dishwasher when the loads are full.
  • When emptying your pet's water bowl, pour it out in your yard or into a storage container for later use, instead of pouring it down the drain or on hard surfaces.
  • Don't pour chemicals or cleaners into ditches, where they can either seep into the ground or flow into natural water sources.
  • Honor your community's natural water sources, like rivers and lakes! Take some time to appreciate them, and their relative cleanliness. When you're out on the water, don't contribute to water pollution. Don't throw your trash in the water, and don't pour contaminants into water.

What's one thing you plan to do in honor of World Water Day?

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