World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is ‘Nature for Water’ – exploring nature-based solutions to the water challenges, we face in the 21st century.
Damaged ecosystems affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption. Today, 1.9 billion people live without safe drinking water at home; affecting their health, education and livelihoods.
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners. UN-Water coordinates the efforts of UN entities and international organizations working on water and sanitation issues. There is no single United Nations entity dedicated exclusively to water issues. Over 30 UN organizations carry out water and sanitation programs, reflecting the fact that water issues run through all of the UN’s main focus areas. UN-Water’s role is to coordinate so that the UN family ‘delivers as one’ in response to water related challenges.
The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. Sustainable Development Goal 6 commits the world to ensuring that everyone has access to safe water by 2030, and includes targets on protecting the natural environment and reducing pollution.
Nature for Water
This year’s theme is Nature for Water. Nature-based solutions (NBS) have the potential to solve many of our water challenges. The premise is to take ‘green’ infrastructure and harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible. According to the Soil Science Society of America, green infrastructure refers to projects that draw from nature to achieve desired results; grey infrastructure includes the pipes, pumps, ditches, and detention ponds engineered by people to manage storm water.
The central message is that NBS, such as planting trees to replenish forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, and restoring wetlands, is a sustainable and cost-effective way to help rebalance the water cycle, mitigate the effects of climate change and improve human health and livelihoods. By using NBS to help meet the water needs of a growing population, we will contribute to the creation of a circular economy, at the same time as helping to protect the natural environment and reduce pollution.
Current Water Facts (Source: World Water Day 2018 Fact Sheet)
- 1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services.
- By 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people and global water demand could be up to 30% higher than today.
- Agriculture currently accounts for 70% of global water withdrawals, mostly for irrigation – a figure that rises in areas of high water stress and population density. Industry takes 20% of the total, dominated by energy and manufacturing. The remaining 10% goes to domestic use – the proportion used for drinking water is much less than 1%.
- Today, around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people.
- An estimated 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from human feces.
- Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the environment without being treated or reused.
Climate and environment:
- The number of people at risk from floods is projected to rise from 1.2 billion today to around 1.6 billion in 2050 – nearly 20% of the world’s population.
- Today, around 1.8 billion people are affected by land degradation and desertification. At least 65% of forested land is in a degraded state.
- An estimated 64-71% of natural wetlands have been lost since 1900 because of human activity.
- Soil erosion from croplands carries away 25 to 40 billion tonnes of topsoil every year, significantly reducing crop yields and the soil’s ability to regulate water, carbon and nutrients. The runoff, containing large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous, is a major contributor to water pollution.
Here at Xeros, we aim to help our growing world make better use of one of its most precious and ever scarcer resources – water. Our game-changing polymer technology and our revolutionary commercial laundry system uses 80% less water than conventional laundry machines. To learn more about how Xeros saves on water, chemicals, and energy, download the brochure below.
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