World Water Day 2020 – Water and Climate Change
World Water Day is celebrated on 22 March every year and is intended to raise awareness about the importance of freshwater and the challenges that people face regarding access to fresh water. The theme of World Water Day 2020 is ‘Water and Climate Change’, as the two are linked.
In the last few months, the world has been facing the COVID-19 pandemic – a pandemic which can be curbed by using soap and water to wash hands and maintain good hygiene. Water is instrumental in the fight against COVID-19, yet hygiene is a daily challenge for many people due to lack of clean running water.
In addition to the current pandemic, water is instrumental in the maintenance of good sanitation and hygiene for menstrual health management, yet 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water, and 1 in 3 lack access to a toilet. In many countries, women and girls are responsible for water collection, and are often put in danger while trying to find it – WHO estimates that, collectively, women and girls spend over 200 million hours every day collecting water for household use.
The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2025, almost half the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas, and has stated that in least-developed countries, 22% of health care facilities have no water service, 21% no sanitation service, and 22% no waste management service.