World water day is on 22nd March, what is it and what does it mean for you and me?
World Water Day is led by the United Nations and is about taking action to tackle the water crisis through an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993, focusing on the importance of water, coordinated by UN-Water. Today, 2 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
This year World Water Day is focused around raising the importance and understanding of the Earth’s Groundwater; ‘Groundwater – making the invisible visible’.Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. In the driest parts of the world, it may be the only water people have. Almost all the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. In many places, human activities over-use and pollute groundwater. In other places, we simply do not know how much water is down there. Groundwater will play a critical role in adapting to climate change. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource. Groundwater may be out of sight, but it must not be out of mind.
Groundwater is water found underground in aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sands and gravels that hold substantial quantities of water. Groundwater feeds springs, rivers, lakes and wetlands, and seeps into oceans. Groundwater is recharged mainly from rain and snowfall infiltrating the ground. Groundwater can be extracted to the surface by pumps and wells. Almost all the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater. Life would not be possible without groundwater.
Most arid areas of the world depend entirely on groundwater. Groundwater supplies a large proportion of the water we use for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes. Groundwater is also critically important to the healthy functioning of ecosystems, such as wetlands and rivers. Overexploitation of groundwater can lead to land instability and subsidence, and, in coastal regions, to sea water intrusion under the land.
Groundwater has always been critically important but not fully recognized. We must protect groundwater from pollution and use it sustainably, balancing the needs of people and the planet. Groundwater’s vital role in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems and climate change adaptation must be reflected in sustainable development policymaking. The potential threats to the quality of groundwater are natural (geogenic) contamination and contaminant sources from land use and other human activities (anthropogenic contamination). Two of the most widely spread geogenic contaminants are arsenic and fluoride. Naturally occurring arsenic pollution in groundwater affects millions of people on all continents. Therefore, groundwater quality needs to be assessed and monitored regularly. Anthropogenic contamination includes the effects of agricultural intensification, urbanization, population growth and climate change. For example, across Africa, groundwater quality is affected by poor sanitation infrastructure and agriculture practices, which has led to high levels of nitrate and microbial contamination. In North America and Europe, nitrates and pesticides represent a big threat to groundwater quality: 20 per cent of European Union (EU) groundwater bodies exceeds EU standards on good water quality due to agricultural pollution.
At Coldstream Filters we fully support the initiative and work of the United Nations and the World Water Day 2022 Campaign. #WorldWaterDay