Did you know 85% of the world’s population lives in the driest half of the planet? In fact, 783 million people do not have access to clean water and nearly 2.5 billion do not have access to proper sanitation.
Each year, on 22 March, the world celebrates World Water Day led by UN water. The day brings to light specific aspects of freshwater.
Commemorating the day, the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Center (IGRAC), in conjunction with UN-Water decided that “Groundwater: making the invisible visible” will be the theme for World Water Day. The selection of groundwater as a point of discourse is significant because groundwater sustains the ecosystem, by maintaining the base flow of rivers, which prevents land subsidence and seawater interference.
The UN Secretary General, António Guterres in his message celebrating annual World Water Day (WWD), outlines that “water means protection. A well-managed water cycle – encompassing drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, wastewater, transboundary governance, the environment and more – means a defence against ill-health and indignity and a response to challenges from a changing climate and increasing global demand.” Invariably, water has an enormous role in sustaining our individual and collective survival, as well as the community’s development.
Here in Kenya, Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) joined the rest of the world in marking this year’s World Water Day. According to WASREB, the value of water is about much more than its price.
According to the United Nations, barely half of Kenya’s urban population has access to water and less than a third has access to improved sanitation.
This year Senegal is hosting the 9th World Water Forum whose theme is “Water Security for Peace and Development”, the week-long forum has brought together participants from every horizon including political and economic decision-makers. This event takes place every three years, and this will be the first time it is held in sub-Saharan Africa since the 1997 inaugural meeting in Morocco.