More than 1.8 billion people drink from a contaminated water source. That is nearly 25 percent of the people on this Earth. This is a reality that World Water Day is helping to eliminate.
WHAT IS WORLD WATER DAY?
World Water Day is an international day celebrating and bringing attention to our globe’s freshwater. Water is vital to all life and essential for development physically, socially and economically.
Celebrating World Water Day focuses attention on sustaining, managing and advocating protection of our freshwater resources. The March 22nd annual day of celebration was created to inspire individuals and communities to raise awareness, educate and act on issues surrounding freshwater.
Originating in 1992, a global day of rejoicing water was established at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. Current and future freshwater issues correspond with United Nations World Water Day theme each year. “Why waste water?” is the centralized theme of 2017’s World Water Day.
Since water is so valuable to existence, perfecting the collection and treatment of wastewater to safely use it is critical. Wastewater is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as “waste material that includes industrial liquid waste and sewage waste that is collected in towns and urban areas and treated at urban wastewater treatment plants (UWWTPs) as well as sewage that comes from single houses in the countryside that is treated on-site in either septic tanks or individual wastewater treatment systems (domestic waste water treatment systems – DWWTS).”
Wastewater and wastewater treatment is important for decreasing damage to the environment by reducing high amounts of wastewater across the world being distributing into rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. The impact of this method of disposal is devastating not only to the environment and animals but also universal communities, effecting their health and wellbeing. Also, these wastewater treatments are needed to increase preservation of water for global usage.
Here are some facts about wastewater circulated by the United Nations:
- Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. (Sato et al, 2013)
- 8 billion People use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. (WHO/UNICEF 2014/WHO 2014)
WHAT DOES WORLD WATER DAY HAVE TO DO WITH EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT?
Water is essential for day-to-day life but also vital when a disaster strikes a community. Having a large supply of water during or after an emergency is a top priority. Water is not only needed for survival but also for food preparation and hygiene. It’s recommended to store up to two weeks of rations in preparation for emergencies.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends in an emergency NOT using water from toilet flush tanks or bowls yet, that is safe to use water in your hot water tank or pipes. Although it’s essential to protect water already in your home from contamination.
FEMA equally suggests that it is safe to use collected water if treated correctly from rainwater, moving bodies of water and natural springs. Some populations around the world are fortunate enough to have storage of water and treatment systems to sustain themselves through an emergency. Yet, 663 million people around the world are living without a safe water supply close to home. These millions of lives are why, today, World Water Day exists.
Communities even without going through emergencies struggle to acquire freshwater for themselves. Securing, spreading knowledge and developing systems of treatment, supply and distribution of safe water is a top priority to help globally set up an infrastructure to combat these issues.