World Water Day
March 22 is designated as World Water Day, a day to heighten our awareness of our water sources, how we use them, and how we can protect them from pollution and overuse. It is a day to raise awareness about the vital importance of water to safeguarding human security and maintaining the health of the planet's ecosystems. This year’s theme is about how water and climate change are linked. With a changing climate, characteristics of hydrological extreme events change. More floods and more severe droughts occur now and in the future.
The UN-Water Policy Brief on Climate Change and Water states:
Climate change increases variability in the water cycle, inducing extreme weather events, reducing the predictability of water availability, affecting water quality, and threatening sustainable development and biodiversity worldwide.
Growing demand for water increases the need for energy-intensive water pumping, transportation, and treatment, and has contributed to the degradation of critical water-dependent carbon sinks, such as peatlands. Some climate change mitigation measures, such as the expanded use of biofuels, can further exacerbate water scarcity.
National and regional climate policy and planning must take an integrated approach to climate change and water management. Increased water stress and meeting future demands will require increasingly tough decisions about how to allocate water resources between competing water uses. If we are to create a sustainable future, water management needs to be scrutinized through a climate resilience lens.
In the mid-south, our primary source of drinking water is groundwater, which in some places, is so clean that it can be consumed directly out of the ground without treatment. This is such a precious resource to residents of west Tennessee and north Mississippi!
There is a citizens’ organization in the Memphis, Tenn. area dedicated to preserving and protecting the Memphis Sand Aquifer for the benefit of present and future generations. Find more information about this organization Protect Our Aquifer at protectouraquifer.org.
But other regions of the country and the world are not so fortunate. Increasing sustainable access to safe drinking water is a key objective of the U.S Government Global Water Strategy and USAID’s Water and Development Plan.
Globally, 663 million people lack access to safe drinking water sources—the very resource on which a healthy, productive life depends. Even for those who have access, services are often inadequate to meet basic needs.
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