Since 1993, March 22nd has been World Water Day: a day for education, activism, and reflection. Although great strides have been made in providing clean water supplies where there were none before, lack of access remains a significant problem in too many areas of the world. Even for those with “access”, the costs can remain prohibitive: in some countries, obtaining the recommended daily minimum water supply can mean giving up half of your income.
WaterAid, a respected international charity, has compiled an insightful and sobering report on access to clean water around the world. Should you have the time, it’s well worth reading. While there are plenty of disheartening facts like the one above, there are just as many opportunities for new ideas, strategies, and even hope.
This year’s Water Day theme is “Water and Jobs”. A great number of people around the world work in water-related sectors, with many unrecognized or unprotected. Far too many are forced to make a daily trek for water that may or may not be safe to use, forsaking any opportunity to work in the “formal sector”. The consequences are dire not only for the individual and their community, but nations as a whole: reduced GDP, reduced revenue, and stunted growth make for a vicious circle.
Problems like these are not insurmountable. On World Water Day, we’re asked to acknowledge them more significantly, hopefully finding our own ways to raise awareness and contribute to solutions throughout the entire year. Clean, safe water shouldn’t be a privilege, but it is. We hope you’ll take some time today to recognize and appreciate your privilege, and maybe even extend it to others.