World Water Day 2017: Why waste water

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World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water. This year’s theme: Why waste water? in support of SDG 6.3 on improving water quality and reducing, treating and reusing wastewater.

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

Reducing and safely treating and reusing wastewater, for example in agriculture and aquaculture, protects worker, farmers and consumers promotes food security, health and wellbeing.

World Water Day – what does it mean to you?

The annual event, on Wednesday, March 22, is a devastating reminder of one simple thing we take for granted – clean, safe water to drink, clean our things with and bathe in.

The day is held to urge people to tackle the global water crisis.

It’s a reminder that 1.8 billion people’s drinking water is contaminated with faeces.

Dirty drinking water is truly horrifying – drinking it puts people at risk of contracting everything from cholera and dysentery to typhoid and polio.

What is World Water Day?

World Water Day is part of a global mission to get safer water for all.

It’s a day for people to learn, get involved and take action.

This is the 24th year, and it’s organised by UN Water in collaboration with governments and partners.

The United Nations organisation sets a theme each year.

What are its origins?

World Water Day - what is it and why is it important?

The UN decided back in 1992 there needed to be more global awareness on water issues.

The United Nations General Assembly decided March 22, 1993, would be the first World Water Day, and it has been held annually since.

One of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals is to make sure everyone in the world has access to safe water by 2030.

What is the theme for 2017?

This year World Water Day’s theme is wastewater.

What’s that?

Wastewater is water that has been used.

This includes water from homes, businesses, industries and institutions.

The term covers everything from sewage and bathwater to washing up water.

This year’s campaign, ‘Why waste water?’, is about reducing and reusing wastewater.


How can I waste less water?

UN Water suggests taking these simple steps –

  1. Turn off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth

  2. Turn off the tap while washing up or scrubbing vegetables.

  3. Put rubbish, oils, chemicals and food in the bin, not down the drain. The dirtier your wastewater, the more energy and money it costs to treat it.

  4. Collect used water from your kitchen sink or bath and use it to water your plants

  5. You cans also collect and use this water to wash your bike or car.

How else can I get involved in World Water Day 2017?

You can take part in Water Aid UK’s campaign to raise awareness and funds.

Whether you decide to dye your hair blue, bake blue cakes to sell in the office or simply use the hashtag #Blue4Water on social media to explain why you’re supporting the day, is up to you.

More information on Water Aid UK can be found here.

Further information from UN Water can be found here.

MORE: Tap water is ‘better for you than bottled water

MORE: Does water go off if you leave it by your bed overnight?



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