World Water Day is held every March 22.
Click here to view events from 2013!
Recognized by the United Nations and the global community, World Water Day reminds us that much of the world still faces a global water, sanitation and hygiene crisis, and that it is our urgent obligation to act.
Why Is World Water Day Important?
World Water Day is an opportunity for people to raise awareness of the WASH crisis and talk about how we will solve this challenge. In 2013, it is unacceptable that:
- 780 million people—almost entirely the poorest and most marginalized in the world—live without access to safe drinking water. 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation (a pit latrine or better); that’s 40% of the world’s population.
- Lack of access to WASH contributes to two of the three leading killers of children under five years old in the world. These diseases are pneumonia, which could be prevented by good handwashing and better hygiene; and diarrhea, which comes from drinking unsafe water and lack of sanitation around the world. With good quality water, sanitation and hygiene, many children’s lives could be saved.
- Up to 40 billion working hours are lost every year to water collection, mostly by women and girls who must walk long distances, sometimes in dangerous circumstances, to collect water. This, combined with water-borne diseases keeping people from school and work, costs countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia 5-6% of their Gross Domestic Products each year. This is a significant blow to economic growth and global financial stability.
The good news is that simple, cost-effective solutions already exist and are being implemented on the ground every day. Around the world, people are building wells, creating water filtration systems, and installing latrines to provide clean water and improved sanitation to those who are most in need.
Churches are raising money to provide safe drinking water to millions of people worldwide. Students are learning about the WASH crisis and how they can help. They are also creating life-long relationships with their partner schoolchildren through service learning trips. Civic organizations work with universities and local partners to address urban water issues through effective business models.
Across the United States, people celebrated World Water Day through learning events, walks and runs, performances, and social media. Here are just a few examples:
|March 11 and 12: Washington, DC: WASH Sustainability ForumThis forum examined the role of collaboration, particularly with governments, in ensuring lasting WASH services. Bringing together a broad mix of stakeholders, the day’s conversation provided a practical foundation for strengthening collaboration with governments and other development partners around the world. Further, this event fostered initial conversations around coordination, the 2013 theme for World Water Day.Click here for WASH Advocates’ press release on the Forum, “Governments Are Key to Sustainable Solutions to the Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Crisis”Hosted by The World Bank Group, UNICEF, Global Water Challenge, WASH Advocates, Aguaconsult, and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre. A webcast of the day’s events will be available soon. Check here for more details.|
|March 16: Springs Preserve, NV
Cirque du Soleil 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk The week before World Water Day started with the “Run Away with Cirque du Soleil 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk” with all proceeds going to the Springs Preserve, a natural park and cultural center devoted to commemorating the history of Las Vegas and promoting sustainability.
March 16-24: World Walks for Water and Sanitation Thousands of people across the globe walked together to demand political change. The walks took place around World Water Day and built on the success of past campaigns. Because of these global actions, governments took notice and made promises both nationally and internationally which we now have to make sure they keep.
|March 19-20: Boulder, CO: WASH Symposium: New Perspectives in Sanitation
The intent of the Colorado WASH Symposium was to provide a platform for sharing and expanding knowledge in the field of water, sanitation, and hygiene in development context. The symposium brought together leaders and WASH practitioners in the private sector, social enterprises, NGOs, academia, and development agencies. The symposium provided a valuable opportunity to meet and network with local, national and international actors in the WASH sector and to learn about their past experiences as well as new approaches and perspectives.Wednesday, March 20th saw an opportunity for the wider public to participate through an international webinar. The webinar focused on novel approaches to the sanitation value chain. Webinar participants had the opportunity to ask questions and engage the speakers during portions of the event.Key speakers included: Carl Hensman, Water Sanitation and Hygiene Program Officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Kara Nelson, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley; David Auerbach, co-founder of Sanergy based in Kenya; and Ryan Mahoney, Research Scientist working on the Sol-Char Toilet Research Project at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
|March 20: Washington, DC: World Water Day Advocacy Day
Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene and integrated water resource management underlie many U.S. foreign policy priorities. By improving integrated approaches, we can enhance child survival, improve gender equality, protect the environment, and expand education.Supporters from around the United States gathered on Capitol Hill to educate Congress on international water issues and build support for the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2013.
|March 20: Washington, DC; Embassy of France: A Thirsty World
Today, as the world’s population increases and the impact of climate change worsens, water has become one of our planet’s most precious natural resources. Filmed in 20 countries, “A Thirsty World” reveals the mysterious and fascinating world of fresh water through spectacular aerial images shot in regions that are difficult to reach and rarely filmed, like Southern Sudan or Northern Congo.” A Thirsty World” was co-presented by the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital and La Maison Française at the Embassy of France.
|March 21: Worldwide, FRAMEwebinar: Strengthening Water Resource Management through Cooperation and Multilateral Collaboration
Chris Holmes of the USAID Water Office participated in a webinar discussing practical Water Cooperation on a community-, national-, and international-level to strengthen water resource management for populations around the globe. He introduced the water problem and discussed the Agency’s upcoming release of the Water Strategy.
|March 21: Los Angeles, CA: Cocktails For Causes World Water Day Event
Cocktails For Causes held their Annual World Water Day Event to support Drop In The Bucket, a non profit organization that builds wells and sanitation systems at schools in Africa. Guests enjoyed music by DJ Tiffany and violin virtuoso, DJ Manifesto. John Travis, President and Co-founder of Drop In The Bucket also addressed the audience.
|March 22: Las Vegas, NV: ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP
In celebration of World Water Day on March 22, ONE DROP, the non-profit organization established by Cirque du Soleil Founder Guy Laliberté, presented One Night for ONE DROP. This original production specially created for a one-night-only performance in Las Vegas featured more than 230 Cirque du Soleil artists and guest performers. To share the experience around the world, the event was filmed and a 90-minute special was created. The mission of ONE DROP is to strive to ensure that water is accessible to all, today and forever.
|March 22: Washington, DC: U.S. Water Partnership Multiple Use Services Workshop
The U.S. Water Partnership Multiple Use Services (MUS) Workshop at the US Department of State – This event promoted MUS as a model intervention and engage the implementers, policy makers and donors in a dialogue regarding accelerating MUS adoption.
|March 22, Washington, DC: USAID World Water Day Twitterfest
WASH experts held an online twitter discussion of the water-food security nexus from 12:00-1:30pm. #WorldWaterDay @USAID
|March 22, Boulder, CO: El Porvenir Happy Hour
El Porvenir brought together WASH practitioners to celebrate clean water with water trivia, beer, wine, hors d’oeuvres, and friends from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at The Hermsmeyer Home.
|March 22nd, Minnesota: H2O for Life Poster Contest
H2O for Life, the Minnesota Department of Health, Dow Water and Process Solutions, Elkay, and the Minnesota Section of the American Water Works Association sponsored a poster contest for Minnesota youth, K-12. They asked students to create a poster to raise awareness about our drinking water. The winners can be found here.
|March 22, Portland, OR: Last Call at the Oasis film screening
People all over the Portland area celebrated World Water Day by viewing the film Last Call at the Oasis at the Clinton Street Theater. Learn more about water management, successful water initiatives, and how we can all work together to create and maintain sustainable water resources.
|March 22, Washington, DC; Carnegie Institution for Science: La Source
The Carnegie Institution for Science and the Environmental Film Festival presented a film that follows the Lajeunesse brothers as they work together to rally the support of a group of Princeton students, a Los Angeles-based charity called Generosity Water and the people of La Source to fulfill their dream of improving the conditions of their impoverished village. The film captures the story of one man, empowered by a vision, who was able to ignite the passion of people thousands of miles away to change lives in La Source forever. In Creole and English.Directed by Patrick Shen.Produced by Patrick Shen, Brandon Vedder and Jordan Wagner. Discussion followed with filmmaker Patrick Shen and Raymond Joseph, Former Haitian Ambassador to the United States and Founder, A Dollar A Tree For Haiti.
|March 22: Worldwide: Google Hangout
In partnership with Google+, 452 people logged on for a hangout celebration on World Water Day, March 22nd! The event was focused on raising awareness for the 780 million people that do not have access to clean water — and what we can do together to solve the water crisis. The hangout featured representatives from +charity: water, +Water.org, +Water For People, +WaterAid, +PEOPLE WATER, +WHOLE WORLD Water, and was moderated by YouTube Star +Justine Ezarik. The participants discussed the water crisis at large, and how we can take action. #WorldWaterDay2013
|March 23: Los Angeles, CA: World Water Day Awareness Raising
Radio Disney partnered with Tetra Tech and Drop in the Bucket to host a fun World Water Day awareness event at the 2013 El Segundo Run for Education 5K.
|March 27: Progress – Gaps – Solutions in Education, Health, and Security The Georgetown Club of Metropolitan Washington, D.C., for a special reception and discussion. “Hoyas in Action: In Service to Children Around the World” discussed the progress, gaps, and solutions in education, health, and security as they relate to children around the world.|
|April 9: SMU Panel Discussion: Water and Women: The Ripple Effect (6:30-8 p.m. EDT/5:30-7 p.m. CDT) A discussion on the impacts of water, sanitation, and hygiene on the lives of women in the developing world. Featured speaker was Gary Edson, global health fellow at the George W. Bush Institute and former CEO of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund.The panel was moderated by Ben Mann, Director of Global Partnerships at WASH Advocates, and featured Edson, Tanvi Nagpal (Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies), Katherine Bliss (Center for Strategic and International Studies), Katie Spotz (Safe Water Activist), and Vanessa Tobin (Catholic Relief Services).
Hosted by SMU’s Hunt Institute for Engineering & Humanity, the Bush Institute, Living Water International, and WASH Advocates.
Location: Vestor Hughes Auditorium, Caruth Hall, SMUFree and open to the public, but seating is limited
|April 9: Emory University Panel Discussion: “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Transforming Lives” (5:00-6:30 EDT/4:00-5:30 CDT)This panel moderated by Jeffrey P. Koplan, MD, MPH, Vice President for Global Health at Emory and former director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).Featured panelists were Dr. Robert Tauxe (CDC), Dr. Christine Moe (Emory’s Center for Global Safe Water), Dr. David Addis (Task Force for Global Health), and Ms. Lourdes Mindreau (CARE Peru).
Hosted by CARE, Emory’s Center for Global Safe Water, CDC, Habitat for Humanity, and the Task Force for Global Health.
Location: Claudia Nance Rollins Auditorium, Emory University
|April 22: Washington DC: Walk for Water
The U.S. State Department and USAID will be participating in 6K Walk For Water, in honor of the millions of women and children who must walk that distance every day to fetch safe drinking water; and to raise awareness of the world’s water and sanitation crisis.Click here for more information and to register.
For more information, please contact Cecilia Snyder at csnyder@WASHadvocates.org
World Water Day 2012
In a speech commemorating World Water Day 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today launched a new partnership to improve water security. The U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) is a public-private partnership that seeks to mobilize U.S.-based knowledge, expertise and resources to improve water security around the world – particularly in those countries most in need.
A diverse coalition of organizations came together for World Water Day 2012. The goal was to optimize awareness, visibility of world water crisis and call for stronger commitments and more robust action to ensure universal access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
The 2012 coalition includes Action Against Hunger, Africare, Catholic Relief Services, CARE, Church World Service, Conservation International, Dig Deep, Earth Day Network, Emory University, FHI 360, Foundation Center, Global Soap Project, Global Water Challenge, Helen Keller Institute, Improve International, International Housing Coalition, Lions Clubs International, Living Water International, Millennium Water Alliance, Natural Resources Defense Council, PATH, Plan, Procter & Gamble, PSI, Save the Children, Tetra Tech, The Earth Institute at Columbia University, The Nature Conservancy, The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel, WASH Advocates, WASRAG, Water4 Foundation, WaterAid, Water and Sanitation Program, Water For People, Water.org, and World Vision.
“Get Schooled on WASH” Learning Sessions
On March 21, in honor of World Water Day, WASH Advocates coordinated “Get Schooled on WASH” with sessions on WASH basics, WASH sustainability, emerging issues in WASH, WASH as it relates to other development sectors, and multi-stakeholder partnerships. Over 120 participants from over 75 organizations gathered to learn from colleagues and share knowledge with those familiar with WASH and those new to the sector. The participants and presenters represented a wide range of NGOs, multi-laterals, corporations, foundations, academia, as well as civic and faith-based organizations.
2012 Advocacy Day
To support the Secretary’s remarks a group of more than 100 advocates from around the country met with Members of Congress on the afternoon of March 22, urging Members to pass the Water for the World Act. The new legislation would create greater U.S. leadership on access to safe drinking water and sanitation for the world’s poor by finding efficiencies in current programming, without spending new money.
World Water Day 2011
In 2011, a coalition of diverse U.S.-based organizations hosted several events in Washington calling for increased commitments by the U.S. government and private citizens to reduce poverty, disease and hunger by helping to improve sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation for many millions around the world. These events included:
- A Making Progress Learning Forum, a series of interactive sessions designed to share successes and failures in WASH programs around the world.
- Three Cross-sectoral Working Groups, which included WASH as it relates to health, education and environmental conservation. To learn more about each working group, check-out the Defeat Diarrheal Disease blog.
On World Water Day, the World Bank and the U.S. State Department co-hosted an international event where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick signed a memorandum of understanding on water. The signing event at The World Bank also celebrated new commitments by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Coca-Cola Company to water and sanitation projects worldwide. To view the event and read about the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Coca-Cola Company commitments, please click on the links below:
- World Water Day event at The World Bank
- Coca-Cola Africa Foundation pledges $6 million to WASH projects for women and girls
- Conrad N. Hilton Foundation pledges $50 million to WASH
After World Water Day, the coalition hosted Advocacy Day with Members of Congress. Members of the coalition had meetings with Congressional Offices and a Capitol Hill briefing with Congressional staffers from both the House of Representatives and the Senate.