Did you know there is a World Water Day? It is celebrated globally once a year to consciously recognize the importance of providing affordable, lasting access to safe water. It became a United Nations observance day in 1993 to focus attention on the global water crisis. Now World Water Day takes place on March 22 annually.
The Theme is “Groundwater”
The theme of World Water Day for 2022 is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible.” World Water Day draws attention to water scarcity globally and every year, the theme is based on an important aspect of water. Groundwater is important around the world because it is the most abundant source of freshwater on earth.1 It is water that is located beneath the earth’s surface in the pores and crevices of rocks and soil. These layers of soil, sand, rock and gravel that contain usable quantities of groundwater are called aquifers.
Groundwater is invisible
Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. In the driest parts of the world, it may be the only water people have. Almost all of the freshwater in the world is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. In many places, human activities over-use and pollute groundwater. In other places, we simply do not know how much water is down there, which means we could be failing to harness a potentially vital water resource.2
Non-frozen fresh water
Accounting for about 97% of non-frozen fresh water on earth, groundwater is an important natural resource that contributes to human development. Approximately 50% of the world’s population drinks ground water daily, and it is critical for sustaining rural populations that are located away from surface water and infrastructure with manmade plumbing.3
Groundwater is a vital resource
Groundwater is a vital resource that provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide, about 40% of water for irrigated agriculture and about one third of water required for industry. Despite these impressive facts and figures, invisible groundwater is out of sight and out of mind for most people. Human activities, including population and economic growth, as well as climate variability, are rapidly increasing the pressure on groundwater resources. Serious depletion and pollution problems are reported for many parts of the world.4
Aquifer systems across the world
There are now 468 identified aquifer systems identified, underlying almost every nation, increased from 366 in 2015. Groundwater does not stop flowing at political borders and huge resources are stored in what are known as “transboundary aquifers.” 40% of the world’s available water is transboundary. The identification, mapping, assessment and development of control mechanisms for transboundary aquifers (TBAs) are important tasks for ensuring the sustainability of these resources and peaceful cooperation between countries.5
The assessment of global groundwater resources is one of the core activities of The International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre. (IGRAC) is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) center that works under the auspices of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and is supported by the Government of The Netherlands. IGRAC facilitates and promotes global sharing of information and knowledge. about groundwater. IGRAC addresses the major issue of groundwater being overused in many areas, where more water is extracted from aquifers than is recharged by rain and snow. In addition, groundwater pollution is a particular problem that can take decades or even centuries to recover from.
Explore, protect and sustain groundwater
Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population. The 2022 World Water Day spotlights groundwater as an invisible yet valuable resource, and strives to enhance knowledge exchange and collaboration to increase awareness of the importance of taking care of our groundwater.
Water is Life
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