22 March 2018
World Water Day, celebrated annually on 22 March, is about focusing attention on the importance of water. This year’s theme, “Nature for Water”, explores nature-based solutions (NBS) to the water challenges we face in the 21st century.How can we reduce floods, droughts and water pollution? By using the solutions we already find in nature. Restoring forests, grasslands and natural wetlands, reconnecting rivers to floodplains, creating buffers of vegetation along water courses – these are all examples of NBS that help the management of water availability and quality. Most NBS, including in urban landscapes, essentially involve the management of vegetation, soils and/or wetlands, including rivers and lakes. NBS are not a panacea to the critical water-related challenges we face as the global population grows, but they can provide innovative and cost-effective options for supplementing insufficient or ageing water infrastructure.
On the occasion of the World Water Day, UN-Water prepared some fact sheets with interesting figures:
Did you know that…
Today, around 1.9 billion people live in potentially severely water-scarce areas. By 2050, this could increase to around 3 billion people.
Agriculture currently accounts for 70% of global water withdrawals, mostly for irrigation – a figure which rises in areas of high water stress and population density. Industry takes 20% of the total, dominated by energy and manufacturing. The remaining 10% goes to domestic use – the proportion used for drinking water is much less than 1%.
An estimated 64-71% of natural wetlands have been lost since 1900 as a result of human activity.
Many World Heritage Sites celebrate water – from spectacular aqueducts to ingenious water mills.
Today, around 1.8 billion people are affected by land degradation and desertification. At least 65% of forested land is in a degraded state.
The number of people at risk from floods is projected to rise from 1.2 billion today to around 1.6 billion in 2050 – nearly 20% of the world’s population.
Restoring ecosystems creates jobs in areas like recreation, fishing, forestry and agriculture.
Soil erosion from croplands carries away 25 to 40 billion tonnes of topsoil every year, significantly reducing crop yields and the soil’s ability to regulate water, carbon and nutrients. The runoff, containing large amounts of nitrogen and phosphorous, is also a major contributor to water pollution.
2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services.
By 2050, the world’s population will have grown by an estimated 2 billion people and global water demand could be up to 30% higher than today.
Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the environment without being treated or reused.
Permanent link: http://en.unesco.kz/22-march-world-water-day-2018