Water resources to take spotlight during international day
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Water resources to take spotlight during international day

During global awareness day, many events, art competitions to take place worldwide highlighting importance of groundwater

News Service AA

The importance of water resources and threats to groundwater are taking the global spotlight Tuesday on the occasion of World Water Day.

World Water Day is a global awareness day which has been marked annually on March 22 since 1993 and focuses on the importance of fresh water.

Since 1993, the day has focused on raising awareness about the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe and clean water as well as on taking needed action to tackle the global water crisis.

Water is also an issue for the UN's Sustainable Development Goal 6 which calls for ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

This year, World Water Day will be celebrated around the world with the theme "Groundwater: Making the invisible visible" to draw attention to groundwater as an invisible resource with an impact visible everywhere.

As a type of water found in underground aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sand and gravel that can hold water, groundwater plays a crucial role in a sustainable environment since it feeds springs, rivers, lakes and wetlands and seeps into oceans.

"Life would not be possible without groundwater. Most arid areas of the world depend entirely on groundwater. Groundwater supplies a large proportion of the water we use for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes," the UN said in a statement released on the occasion of the day.

Also touching on the critical importance of groundwater for the healthy functioning of ecosystems such as wetlands, the UN warned that it must be protected from overexploitation and pollution

"Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population," it added.

According to the 2022 edition of the UN World Water Development Report (WWDR) published by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which focuses on a different theme each year on World Water Day, groundwater accounts for nearly 99% of all liquid freshwater on Earth.

Defining groundwater as "the world’s largest distributed store of freshwater," the report indicates that groundwater is naturally well placed to play a key role in enabling people to adapt to sustained water shortages as a result of climate change.

However, groundwater is also directly affected by climate change.

"Climate change influences groundwater systems directly through changes in the water balance at the Earth’s surface, and indirectly through changes in groundwater withdrawals as societies respond to shifts in freshwater availability," notes the report.

It also notes that this precious natural resource is often poorly understood and consequently undervalued, mismanaged and even abused.

"Decision-makers must begin to take full account of the vital ways in which groundwater can help ensure the resilience of human life and activities in a future where the climate is becoming increasingly unpredictable," it said.


- 'World's neglected defense against climate change'

Additionally, another report, titled "Groundwater: the world’s neglected defense against climate change," was jointly prepared by WaterAid and the British Geological Survey and noted that millions of people across the globe still do not have safe water to drink.

"As climate change continues to wreak havoc, communities will see their homes and means of survival washed away, their drinking water contaminated or dry up, their crops wither and fail, their health devastated by infectious diseases, and their children forced out of school," it added.

Also citing the importance of groundwater for communities, the report also pointed out that most African countries actually have enough groundwater reserves to face at least five years of drought.

To raise concern as well as mark the day, various events take place annually around the world.

For this year, the UN launched a "one minute challenge” calling on people to attend the event by taking a 60-second video and telling how groundwater affects daily life and what should be done to protect groundwater.

Along with the UN's event, many art contests, painting and photo competitions will be held across the globe.

Meanwhile, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Turkiye will visit Lake Marmara in western Manisa province to draw attention to the lake, which is in danger of drying out.

In 1992, the UN Conference on Environment and Development was held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and at that time, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution by which March 22 of each year was declared the World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993.

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