Water, by its simplest definition, is life. Every living thing on Earth requires water to survive. The conversation on World Water Day centers on what water means to you. Why do you think water is so important? To help with this discussion we are sharing information about World Water Day, sustaining water, the water cycle, why water is so essential for human life and more!

Learn About World Water Day

March 22nd is UN World Water Day

Water means different things to different people. In households, schools and workplaces, water can mean health, hygiene, dignity and productivity. In cultural, religious and spiritual places, water can mean a connection with creation, community and oneself. In natural spaces, water can mean peace, harmony and preservation. Today, water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry, and the worsening impacts of climate change. UN World Water Day welcomes everyone to tell their stories, thoughts and feelings about water. Visit the World Water Day website for tools to help you learn share and act to protect and preserve water. 

Groundwater - Making the Invisible Visible

The UN World Water Day 2022 global theme is "Groundwater - Marking the Invisible Visible." Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives.  Almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater. As climate change gets worse, groundwater will become more and more critical. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind. 

2022 is the Year of Groundwater

Making the Invisible Visible: this year is the UN year of groundwater. But what is groundwater, and how could it be one of the solutions to the climate crisis?

Groundwater, the Hidden Resource

Water is essential to human, plant, and animal survival. From huge cities to tiny villages, about 50% of the world’s population depends on groundwater every day. Learn more in this video by the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre.

The History of World Water Day

Two men carrying a pail of water

World Water Day focuses on the importance of freshwater. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. The idea for this international day goes back to 1992, the year in which the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro took place. That same year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution by which March 22 of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993. Later on, other celebrations and events were added. For instance, the International Year of Cooperation in the Water Sphere 2013, and the current International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, 2018-2028. These observances serve to reaffirm that water and sanitation measures are key to poverty reduction, economic growth, and environmental sustainability. Photo by UN Photo.

Commemoration Event for World Water Day

World Water Forum

On World Water Day, Tuesday, March 22, a "pivot" event will be held in commemoration of World Water Day. Hosted at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal, the event will be attended by heads of state and prominent water sector leaders, and will include a presentation of the key findings in the UN World Water Development Report 2022, called “Groundwater - making the invisible visible.” (See more about the report below.)

World Water Day related events at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal:

March 21, 11:15 - 11:45 a.m. (GMT):
Launch of the UN World Water Development Report “Groundwater: Making the invisible visible” at 9th World Water Forum Opening Ceremony.

March 22, 8 to 9 a.m. (GMT):
Celebration of World Water Day “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”

March 22, 9 to 10:30 a.m. (GMT):
High-Level Panel on “Making the invisible visible: groundwater a response for resilience and sustainability”

March 22, 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. (GMT):
Special Session on “Making the invisible visible: Groundwater Catalogue for informed policy development and management interventions”

More information and programs found here.

UNESCO World Water Development Report

UN World Water Report

The United Nations World Water Development Report (UN WWDR) is an annual and thematic report that focuses on different strategic water issues each year and aims to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of our water resources. It also includes regional aspects, hotspots, examples and stories, making the report relevant to a broad range of readers, at different levels and in different geographical areas. The 2021 report highlighted "Valuing Water," 2020's theme was "Water and Climate Change," 2019 focused on "Leaving No One Behind," and 2018 placed a spotlight on "Nature-Based Solitions for Water." The UN World Water Development Report 2022 “Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible” will be launched on 21 March 2022 at the opening ceremony of the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal.. View a preview of the report below. 

The 2022 UN World Water Development Report

Water is a unique and non-substitutable resource. As the foundation of life, societies and economies, it carries multiple values and benefits. But unlike most other valuable resources, it has proven extremely difficult to determine its true ‘value’. The 2021 World Water Development Report on “Valuing Water” assesses the current status of and challenges to the valuation of water across differing sectors and perspectives and identifies ways in which valuation can be promoted as a tool help achieve sustainability.

The WWDR 2022 aims at calling world-wide attention for groundwater, a natural resource of enormous importance, but often poorly understood, undervalued or even overlooked. Attention is needed to catalyze optimal use of the enormous opportunities offered by groundwater to human societies for gaining social, economic and environmental benefits, including the potential contributions of groundwater to climate change adaptation and to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Earth's Fresh and Salt Water

Did you know only about three percent of the water on Earth is fresh water? That's why we need to take care of it! In this video from FunScienceDemos, Jared shows us how much salt water there is compared to the freshwater we have on our planet. Temple University's College of Science and Technology offers a wonderful series of FunScienceDemos in cooperation with TuTeach. This video is used with permission from the College of Science and TechnologyTuTeach and the incredible FunScienceDemos team.

Moving Water Shapes the Land

Water is an incredibly powerful natural force, so powerful it can shape the land around us. Standing in a running stream, Jared explains that land is shaped by moving water, in this video from FunScienceDemos. This video is used with permission from the College of Science and TechnologyTuTeach and the FunScienceDemos team.

Water for a Sustainable World: A Vision for 2050

This video from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Oranization (UNESCO) presents the vision for 2050 of the world's water future. It is the UN’s flagship report on water and gives an overall picture of the state of the world's freshwater resources, aiming to provide decision-makers with the tools to implement sustainable use of water.

What Would Happen if You Didn't Drink Water?

Water is essentially everywhere in our world, and the average human is composed of between 55 and 60 percent water. So what role does water play in our bodies, and how much do we actually need to drink to stay healthy? Mia Nacamulli details the health benefits of hydration in this video from TedEd

Why is Water Important?

Did you know that humans can only live a few days without water? In this video from Whizbusters, learn why water is the most important factor to human life after air!

Fifteen Benefits of Drinking Water

water being poured from a pitcher into a glass

Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water, and around 71 percent of the planet’s surface is covered by water. Perhaps it is the ubiquitous nature of water that means drinking enough each day is not at the top of many people’s lists of priorities, but it should be according to Medical News Today.

How Much Water is There on Earth?

a chart showing how much fresh water is available on earth when compared to a globe.

The Earth is a watery place. But just how much water exists on, in, and above our planet? About 71 percent of the Earth's surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth's water. Water also exists in the air as water vapor, in rivers and lakes, in icecaps and glaciers, in the ground as soil moisture and in aquifers, and even in you and your dog. The globe illustration  created by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows blue spheres representing relative amounts of Earth's water in comparison to the size of the Earth. Are you surprised that these water spheres look so small? Discover more!

Where is Earth's Water? 

Earth's water Bar chart out of all the water 2.5% is fresh water, and only 1.2% of that is surface freshwater

Earth's water is (almost) everywhere: above the Earth in the air and clouds, on the surface of the Earth in riversoceansiceplants, in living organisms, and inside the Earth in the top few miles of the ground. For an estimated explanation of where Earth's water exists, look at this bar chart shared by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). You may know that the water cycle describes the movement of Earth's water, so realize that the chart and table below represent the presence of Earth's water at a single point in time. If you check back in a million years, no doubt these numbers will be different!

The Water Cycle for Schools

A graph of the water cycle. Water in the clouds falls to the ground as precipitation which travels in lakes and streams to the ocean where it evaporates back into the atmophere

Earth's water is always in movement, and the natural water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth. Water is always changing states between liquid, vapor, and ice, with these processes happening in the blink of an eye and over millions of years. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools and kids. It is available in over 30 languages and also in an interactive version made for online viewing and investigating.

More About The Water Cycle

Water is almost constantly changing, but like almost everything it does follow a pattern. From evaporation to condensation to precipitation, learn more about the water cycle in this video from Happy Learning

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