World Water Day

530 300 The Hunger Project Australia

Every year, on March 22, we celebrate World Water Day by raising awareness about water-related issues and inspiring people to take action and make a difference.

Water is fundamentally important to human survival and inextricably linked with the health of the environment and the economy. We are so fortunate to have access to clean water, good hygiene practices and reliable info to protect us against harmful illnesses. However, 2.2 billion people around the world are currently living without access to a safe water source.

Water and Climate Change

This year, World Water Day is focusing on climate change. Extreme weather events are making water more scarce, more unpredictable, more polluted, or all three. Not only is water crucial to our survival, but also integral to the systems we rely on such as sanitation, business, healthcare, education and industry. As the global population grows, so does the demand for water, which depletes natural resources and damages the environment in many places. Responsible use of water and action on climate change is crucial to protecting and managing this precious resource whilst making sure no one is left behind.

UNESCO predicts that, by 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year, creating unprecedented competition for water. The good news is, if we limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, compared to 2°C, we could cut climate-induced water stress by up to 50%.

The global community has committed to achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Climate policy makers need to put water at the heart of action plans for our global future. Investing in water resource management will bolster community climate resilience, support job creation and improve sustainable development outcomes. The way we use water could help reduce floods, droughts, scarcity and pollution, and even fight climate change. 

Water can help fight climate change by:

  • Wetlands soak up carbon dioxide from the air.
  • Vegetation protects against flooding and erosion.
  • Rainwater can be stored for dry periods.
  • Wastewater can be reused.
  • Climate-smart agriculture.

The Hunger Project’s programs support clean water and improved sanitation by empowering rural communities to promote the implementation of water conservation techniques and develop new water resources.

Across 43 communities we have enabled to reach Self Reliance in Africa:

85% of people are using a basic drinking water source

23% increase in people using basic sanitation

30% decrease in the prevalence of diarrheal disease in children under 5

Here’s what we do to improve water and sanitation in our program countries.

Building Capacity

  • Establishing water project boards made up of community leaders trained by experts on how to monitor, maintain and repair water systems
  • Training people in the use and repair of water pumps and generators; and training a core of local leaders in water safety and purification so they can lead workshops throughout the community and expand grassroots knowledge

Developing New Sustainable Water Sources 

  • Empowering local communities to drill new wells and boreholes and repair existing ones
  • Building and repairing water towers
  • Construct water troughs for livestock.

Ensuring a Reliable Supply of Clean Water 

  • Providing equipment and training for testing and pumping water
  • Empowering communities to build and repair latrines in homes, schools and public spaces
  • Lobbying local governments to devote public resources to water infrastructure projects.

Implementing Water Conservation Techniques

  • Mobilising communities to initiate drip irrigation projects, which minimise the use of water and fertiliser by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants
  • Developing water catchment systems which collect rainwater from a roof or other surface before it reaches the ground and store it for future use. At the Chokwe Epicentre community in Mozambique, access to clean water became a key challenge as the primary source of water for the community was highly salinated due to flooding. Women had to walk about 2.5 kilometres every day in order to access drinking water. The Hunger Project-Mozambique was able to connect the epicentre community with the Instituto de Permacultura de Mozambique (iPERMO) to implement a rainwater harvesting and storage system.

Sanitation Programs

  • Good hygiene is more than a convenience. Waterborne illness is a leading cause of childhood deaths around the world. The Hunger Project training and capacity building projects improve living conditions and save lives.

Join us in celebrating World Water Day on March 22nd. Water is a limited resource and we need your support in making clean water accessible to all! Invest now in accessible, safe and sustainable water.

Image credit: Ivan Barros.