World Water Day

By Gabrielle Corley

Water is essential to health, food production, and life as we know it.  In our part of the world, water is everywhere. Our city lies cradled between rivers and in the heart of one of the world’s largest watershed systems. Can you imagine St. Louis without its mighty rivers and abundant creeks and streams? Although they can occasionally cause some headaches (lots of flooding in these parts!), we are supremely fortunate for their constant, life-giving presence.  

But elsewhere, things are not so.

Globally, 663 million people still lack access to safe drinking water. Even for those who have access, services are often inadequate to meet basic needs. In countries with a history of conflict and civil unrest, the impact of refugees has further deteriorated the condition of water supply services.

Water is essential to the production of food supplies, and lack of clean water leads to poverty and famine.

Not only people are negatively affected by the lack of clean water; the environment suffers as well. Polluted rivers and groundwater impacts all forms of life and contributes to all kinds of environmental problems, such as species depletion and climate change. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Andrew Wheeler says unsafe drinking water poses the greatest and most immediate global threat to the environment.

For these reasons, March 22 is set aside to raise awareness about the vital importance of water to everything on World Water day. The theme for this year’s World Water Day is “Leaving No One Behind.” It is a reminder to remember that everyone (and everything) has the right to safe and clean water to grow and thrive.  Here are some ways to bring awareness about the importance of access to clean water and to celebrate the gift of water in our lives.

  1. Learn some facts at the United Nations website about World Water Day http://www.unwater.org/
  2. View some informational videos on the Educate.Today website.  These are commercial free and geared toward young learners. A quick search using the keywords ‘water quality’ leads to several great videos on the topic.
  3. Watch this one-on-one interview with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the doctor who uncovered the Flint Water Crisis, and author of What the Eyes Don’t See.
  4. Read a story. Some great titles include Creekfinding, 2017 by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, A Drop Around the World , 1998 by Barbara McKinney, and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, 2012 by William Kamkwamba.
  5. Fill a glass with clean cool water and sit down to brainstorm with kids and family some ways to minimize water waste at home. Things like not running the water while brushing teeth, running the dishwasher only when it’s full, and installing an outdoor rain-barrel can go a long way.  Involve the whole family in creating this list and make sure everyone has a voice in the project.

It’s easy to take access to clean water and adequate sanitation systems for granted. By learning about the topic and incorporating some water conservation techniques into your household routines, your family will be on its way to becoming active advocates for World Water Day.

Every drop counts!