The United Nations World Water Day is on the 22nd of March this year. International World Water Day is held every year on 22 March to focus global attention on the importance of water and advocating for the sustainable management of our water resources. The theme this year is “Water and Energy” and addresses the interdependence of the two resources particularly the inequities visited upon the “bottom billion” inhabitants across the globe who do not have access to much of either water or energy. As articulated on the website,
Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.
The key messages the UN Water initiative is promoting for World Water Day concerns what each individual will do in 2014 and beyond to promote sustainable practices in the realm of water and energy. Those messages include:
1. Water requires energy and energy requires water
Water is required to produce nearly all forms of energy. Energy is needed at all stages of water extraction, treatment and distribution.
2. Supplies are limited and demand is increasing
Demand for freshwater and energy will continue to increase significantly over the coming decades. This increase will present big challenges and strain resources in nearly all regions, especially in developing and emerging economies.
3. Saving energy is saving water. Saving water is saving energy
Choices concerning the supply, distribution, price, and use of water and energy impact one another.
4. The “bottom billion” urgently needs access to both water and sanitation services, and electricity
Worldwide, 1.3 billion people cannot access electricity, 768 million people lack access to improved water sources and 2.5 billion people have no improved sanitation. Water and energy have crucial impacts on poverty alleviation.
5. Improving water and energy efficiency is imperative as are coordinated, coherent and concerted policies
Better understanding between the two sectors of the connections and effects on each other will improve coordination in energy and water planning, leading to reducing inefficiencies. Policy-makers, planners and practitioners can take steps to overcome the barriers that exist between their respective domains. Innovative and pragmatic national policies can lead to more efficient and cost effective provision of water and energy services.
UN Water also publishes an advocacy guide available here that provides guidance on becoming more involved in supporting the mission of World Water Day.