Since 1993, World Water Day marks an annual international event that brings attention to a specific aspect of freshwater, ranging from the theme of women and water to that of water quality. This year’s World Water Day highlights the interconnectedness of water and energy. Specifically, the generation and transmission of energy involves the use of water resources, and approximately eight percent of global energy is utilized for pumping, treating, and transporting water to people.
For World Water Day 2014, the United Nations (UN) Member States and stakeholders are concentrating on the water-energy nexus to address objectives relating to the inequities faced by the ‘bottom billion’ (those who live in impoverished settings) without access to safe drinking water and sufficient energy services. One aim for 2014 is to be involved in the establishment of policies that would pave the way for energy security and more sustainable water use, especially through the identification of best practices that could make a green (or energy efficient) industry a reality. To promote its efforts, campaign materials, including logo kits, factsheets, posters, and other resources will be posted on a designated page of UN Water’s website throughout the year.
Although the holiday falls on a Saturday, celebrations co-organized by the United Nations University (UNU) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) kicked off on Thursday, March 20, 2014, in Tokyo, Japan and will run until Friday. All of the festivities in Japan were available by webcast so that others around the globe could participate. There will be discussions and debates as well as the official launch of the fifth edition of the World Water Development Report (WWDR), which will be accompanied by keynote speeches among other events. The WWDR 2014 on Water and Energy is meant to inform people making decisions from inside and outside of the water and energy domains, stakeholders, and practitioners of how closely linked water and energy are. The report also gives a thorough overview of emerging trends, while presenting cases of how challenges have been tackled and ways that stakeholders and the international community can take action in similar problem-solving efforts. Moreover, the report serves to underscore the need for frameworks that set priorities for regulating both resources.
The preparations for this year’s World Water Day began last September 2013 with World Water Week, which took place in Stockholm. The event featured a UN-Water seminar on the topic of water and energy, which served to start the dialogue that is centered on the intersection of the two domains. The session also involved identifying stakeholders who could engage in developing this year’s World Water Day theme. Facebook helped raise awareness of World Water Day too. Through its photo competition, which took place from January 15, 2014 to February 28, 2014, the company collected over 207 photos reflecting both water and energy. In honor of World Water Day, get thirsty and energized for change by designing your own activities around the key message that water requires energy and energy requires water, so by saving one you are actually conserving both. Keep in mind that 1.3 billion people across the world do not have access to electricity and 768 million people lack water sources. To add to that, make every drop of water and each form of energy count by reducing inefficiencies in the consumption of each.
Last but not least, the Disease Daily makes a point to acknowledge World Water Day because water is an essential need, yet in many areas, waterborne infectious diseases, such as cholera, are all too common. Further, water plays an integral role in the life cycle of disease-causing agents, such as guinea worm disease, schistosomiasis, and malaria. As Millennium Development Goal 7.c states, the aim is to “Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.”