Every year, on 22 March, people around the world mark World Water Day. This year’s theme is “Leaving no one behind” inspired by Sustainable Development Goal 6 – a promise that everyone shall have access to clean, safe water by 2030.
On our planet, at this very moment in time as you read this article, billions of people are living without the safe water they need to survive. By definition, safe water doesn’t just refer to whether it is clean or dirty; safe water is water that would be suitable for consumption, free from contamination and readily available on premises such as homes, schools and workplaces.
Water is a human right. In 2010, the United Nations formally recognised “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights.” This means that everyone is entitled, without discrimination, to safe, accessible and affordable water regardless of its intended use. For example, people have a right to drink water, wash themselves and their clothes, and prepare food with water.
This year, celebrations will be held at the Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) headquarters in Rome, Italy. The event aims to highlight how essential both improved water resource management and access to safe water is to tackling poverty and other economic and social inequalities.