World Water Day 2024: together we can turn the clock back

World Water Day takes place on 22 March with the aim of raising awareness about the importance of sustainably managing the resource.
Wind energy on Global Wind Day

 Friday 22 March will be the day the whole world focuses on an annual event of the utmost importance: World Water Day. It’s not only a reminder of the fundamental nature of this most vital resource, but also a call to action for us to understand the value of water and the need to manage it in a sustainable way.

On a planet where the global warming footprint is ever clearer and indeed speeds up drought in many regions, every drop of water matters. We are now, believe it or not, counting down to when it could run out. There is, however, still time to turn back the clock. This World Water Day is designed to reflect upon what water means to us and how we can contribute to its conservation. Because water is much more than a resource – it is the essence of life.


The climate crisis is aggravating the water crisis

Around 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to drinking water – and the IPCC is warning that half the global population is already suffering a serious shortage of water at some time during any calendar year.

The data is getting worse by the year due to climate change and population growth. And, even worse, water demand is predicted to exceed supply by 40% by the end of this decade, as we report here.


     “Half the global population is already suffering a serious shortage of water at some point during the year”


As the UN points out, water quality is also affected by climate change, with the increasing temperature of water, flooding and drought aggravating many types of water pollution, from sediments to pathogens and pesticides.

The consequences are wide-ranging: from biodiversity loss to the transmission of diseases by microbe-contaminated water for human use. The water pollution crisis is adding to social and economic pressure in all regions of the world.


Facing this scenario, innovative solutions such as desalination, water reuse and treatment play a fundamental role. Such measures not only help overcome water shortages, they improve quality and ultimately protect our health as well as the planet’s.

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) consist of a series of physical, chemical and biological processes which eliminate water pollutants so that people can make use of it again.

In Egypt, for example, just 4 facilities working together have managed to reuse water equivalent to use by a community of 500,000 people. Liters and liters of water cleaned up so that it can be deployed for irrigation activities.

As such, WWTPs and water reuse help reduce pressure on water resources by recycling used water back to the environment in a safe, effective way.

In a world containing ever more people and scarce water resources, such solutions can be key to ensuring harmony and cooperation between communities and nations. And this is the theme of World Water Day 2024: Water for Peace.


Water as a catalyst for peace: the UN theme for World Water Day 2024

We all know that water is essential for life. What it seems we are not so aware of is that it is also a catalyst for tension and disputes. When water is short, conflicts can erupt between communities and countries.

This is why the United Nations (UN) has this year chosen the theme “Water for Peace”.

The need to protect and conserve water, our most precious resource, has never been so important. Public health, prosperity, food and energy systems, economic productivity and environmental integrity depend on the proper functioning and fair management of the water cycle. Did you know that just 6 countries are home to almost half of all global water resources: Brazil, the United States, Canada, Russia, India and China.

One of the strategies for overcoming this inequality is reverse osmosis, a technology that allows saltwater (98% of all water on Earth) to be desalinated. Read more here on how this solution could become the answer to conflicts due to water shortages.

World Water Day is being used this year to call for cooperation in the area of water, hopefully to generate a positive cascade effect promoting harmony and generating prosperity and resilience in the face of common challenges.

It is vital we understand that water is not simply a resource for which we compete and exploit, but a human right, intrinsic to all aspects of life. As such, we all need to unite around water, using this resource to develop peace, establishing the basis for a more stable, prosperous future.


SourcesWorld Water Day and World Wated Day (UN).