March 22, World Water Day!
It was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1993. The World Water Day campaign aims to inspire action to tackle the water problem globally. It highlights the importance of our water and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. The theme for the year 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’. It is consistent with the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.
According to the UN, the rationale underlying this theme is that people from different groups are left behind for different reasons, so far water supply and water interventions fail to reach those most in need and who stand to benefit most. The theme ‘leaving no one behind” aims to promote public awareness and empowerment of communities so as to allow all people in all countries to benefit from socio-economic development and to achieve the full realisation of human rights to water and sanitation, without discrimination for any socio-demographic status.
In order to achieve the goal of providing water for all, three principles should be followed, according to the UN workplan, by professionals, policy makers and service providers:
- To increase public awareness, shape social culture and change our attitudes so as to respect and not ignore human rights to water and sanitation;
- To promote a change in policies and regulations to include a human rights based policy framework, so as to ensure that everyone can get access to water and sanitation;
- To take a rights based approach to target people currently left behind.
Technologies play an important role in water management. However, the water technology revolution is far from complete so far. Also, there are no simple solutions to global water dilemma. Based on careful observation of recent successes and failures, Professor David Sedlak, from University of California, Berkeley, puts forward several strategies in a public seminar hosted by The University of Hong Kong on 20 March 2019, which are insightful and may be helpful for providing an ample, safe supply of water to all with no one leaving behind:
- To help nations and cities ready for transformation by sharing experiences and encouraging long-range thinking.
- To make water accessible to industrializing or middle-income nations or cities by lowering the cost of technologies.
- To assure accessibility and equity in less developed countries by employing natural treatment systems.
- To make agriculture more efficient.
Additional information about World Water Day is available at
Annual Theme for World Water Day in Past Five Years:
2018 – Nature for Water
2017 – Why Waste Water?
2016 – Better Water, Better Jobs
2015 – Water and Sustainable Development
2014 – Water and Energy