22 Mar World Water Day 2021: What Does Water Mean to You?
Water makes up most of the Earth and most of our bodies. We drink it, cook with it, wash with it. We rely on it to live yet many of us take it for granted. Access to clean, fresh water is a basic human right but unfortunately not one that every community is lucky enough to enjoy. Even here in Manitoba, there are large communities that suffer frequent water advisories and some that don’t even have running water in their homes.
This year’s World Water Day is about valuing water – what does it mean to you?
“The value of water is about much more than its price –
water has enormous and complex value for our households,
food, culture, health, education, economics, and the integrity of our natural
Why should I care? The planet is full of water!
- While it’s true that 71% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, 97.5% of it is saltwater. That means only 2.5% of the earth’s water is fresh, drinkable water!
- But only 1% is easily accessible in rivers, lakes, and streams. The rest is stuck in glaciers and snowfields
- Our freshwater resource is threatened by a growing population, an increase in demand from agriculture and industry, and the impacts of climate change
- Canada is home to over two million lakes and rivers, accounting for 20% of the world’s fresh water! As Canadians, we have a global responsibility to protect this finite resource for current and future generations
- It’s not just humans that rely on freshwater ecosystems – Canada alone is home to 200 species of freshwater fish, 1/3 of which are at-risk
Clean Water is Vital For Health
- Without access to a clean, safe water source, basic sanitation and hygiene is nearly impossible
- This puts people at greater risk of diseases like coronavirus, diarrhea, and cholera
- Consider the ramifications of not having access to proper sanitation in the midst of a worldwide pandemic – hand-washing saves lives
- COVID aside, handwashing is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of pathogens and infections
- 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases are caused by a lack of access to clean water and sanitation
Global Water Crisis
- Worldwide, 1 in 3 people do not have access to safe drinking water, 2 in 5 people do not have access to basic hand-washing station, and over 673 million people don’t have proper toilet facilities
- It has been estimated that by 2030 the demand for clean, freshwater will be 40% greater than our supply
Water Crisis on Canadian Soil
It’s easy for most of us to take for granted the water we have accessible at the turn of a tap. For many communities even within our home province, this is not the case:
- Between 2004-2014, 400/618 First Nations communities were under at least one water advisory
- Currently, more than 100 communities in Canada go without clean drinking water – and have for decades
- 180 homes in Garden Hill First Nation, Manitoba are without running water and indoor plumbing
“Access to safe drinking water is a basic human necessity.
I don’t believe anyone would say that this is in any way an acceptable situation in Canada in 2021.”
But it’s Not All Bad News
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for all by 2030
- In 2018, the UN committed to spending the next decade focused on access to water. If we put in the work, a lot can change in 10 years! To get informed about and involved in the Water Action Decade, click here
- Throughout this decade, the UN is working to:
- Advance sustainable development
- Energize existing programs and projects
- Inspire action to achieve clean water and sanitation for all by 2030
What Can I Do?
- Stay informed
- Use your vote to keep policy-makers accountable
- Conserve this precious resource
- Join the conversation on March 22 at WorldWaterDay.org/