World Water Day is celebrated on March 22 each year. It is an annual observance by the United Nations, started in 1993 that celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people who still live without access to clean water. Later, other celebrations and events were associated, such as the International Year of Cooperation in the Water Sphere in 2013 and the current International Decade of Action for Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028. These observances raise awareness of how water and sanitation are crucial to reducing global poverty, promoting economic growth, and environmental sustainability.
World Water Day (March 22, 2022) | Make the invisible visible
This year, the UN highlights groundwater to create awarenessfor this fundamental resource, which, despite not being able to be seen with the naked eye, is crucial for the planet’s life, being even in some places, the only water available! Despite being “invisible”, its impact is visible worldwide!
Sustainably exploiting and protecting groundwater will be critical in adapting to climate change and responding to the needs of a growing world population!
But what is groundwater? It’s are a form of water found underground in aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sand, and gravel that can retain moisture.
How important is it? Almost all freshwater comes from groundwater, supporting drinking water supply, sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, and ecosystems.
What’s the problem? In many areas of the planet, the overexploitation of aquifers is much higher than the water absorbed by rain and snow. Groundwater pollution is another critical problem, which can take decades or even centuries to recover. In some places, the amount of groundwater in the subsoil is not known for sure, which means, on the other hand, that we may be underusing a vital water resource.
- > Asia and the Pacific region have the lowest water per capita globally, with groundwater exploitation in the area expected to increase by 30% by 2050!
- > In North America and Europe, nitrates and pesticides pose a massive threat to quality groundwater (about 20%)!
- > Groundwater bodies in the Union (EU) are so polluted and overexploited that they exceed the quality levels set by EU standards!
What can be done? Sustainable development policies must reflect the vital role of groundwater in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems, and climate change adaptation. As climate change worsens, groundwater is increasingly threatened. Therefore, it is necessary to join efforts to explore and manage this precious resource sustainably – this will be critical for survival in adapting to climate change and the needs of a growing world population.