Did you know that today is World Water Day? The UN General Assembly designated the first World Water Day in 1993, and on 22 March every year since, the focus has been on a different aspect of freshwater sustainability. In a statement today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. He further stated that water is vitally linked to all UN development goals including maternal and child health and life expectancy, food security and sustainable development. On behalf of UN-Water a three-day celebration for World Water Day has begun in Nairobi, Kenya, bringing together scientists and policy-makers to discuss how to address the challenges posed by degrading water quality worldwide.
It is children that are most affected by world water problems, one child under the age of five dies every 20 seconds from water-related diseases, according to the UN Environment Program (UNEP). In a new publication, entitled Clearing the Waters: A focus on Water Quality Solutions, the agency points out that in some developing nations, more than half of treated water is lost to leaks, but by some estimates, saving just half of the water could benefit 90 million people without additional investment. Additionally they argue that an investment of $20 million in low-cost water technologies, such as drip irrigation and treadle pumps, could potentially lift 100 million families out of extreme poverty.