Yesterday’s World Water Day spurred a variety of events, demonstrations and discussions all over the world centered around the issue of fresh water, in the wake of a new U.N. report which has calculated that the number of deaths per year from waterborne disease surpasses those from all forms of violence, including war.
In observance of the day, I attended an event, co-hosted by National Geographic and Water Advocates, held to raise awareness of the challenges we face in ensuring safe, affordable and sustainable water resources for people around the world.
The event included a video presentation from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, as well as remarks from several leaders in this arena, including Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Terry Garcia from the National Geographic Society. Among the many statements shared, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke strongly about the important role the U.S. has to play in the global water crisis. She addressed numerous items that are core to the Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) movement, but also mentioned the importance of maintaining natural flows of fresh water and transboundary watershed governance.
At the event, National Geographic announced a special tribute to World Water Day and the importance of raising public awareness of the issue: free digital copies of their April 1 special issue “Water: Our Thirsty World”.
Colleen Vollberg is the program coordinator for CI’s Freshwater Conservation Program.