World Water Day 2009: Shared Waters, Shared Opportunities

More than 1 billion people world wide lack access to clean, safe drinking water1. That’s about 20% of the Earth’s population. More than 2.6 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation2. That’s over 40% of the globe. World Water Day is an international day of action and observance to draw attention to their situation, and you can get involved to help spread the word.


The United Nations (UN) General Assembly passed a resolution in 1992 designating March 22 of each year as World Water Day. The first event was held in 1993, and with each year, the event has grown larger and stronger, with marches, rallies, and consciousness-raising activities held locally, nationally, and internationally.

World Water Day 2009
World Water Day 2009

The topic of this year’s event is transboundary waters: bodies of water, drainage basins, oceans, seas, rivers, lakes, groundwater and wetlands that transcend international boundaries. These waters have the potential as the focus of conflict, and World Water Day events are aimed at teaching about the importance of continued cooperation among nations with shared river basins and bodies of water.

“There are 263 transboundary river basins. Over 45 percent of the land surface of the world is covered by river basins that are shared by more than one country. Over 75 percent of all countries, 145 in total, have within their boundaries shared river basins. And 33 nations have over 95 percent of their territory within international river basins.”

Check the list of events around the world here or here for something near you, or start your own march or walk. The World Water Day site has downloadable graphics, wallpaper, brochures, and T-shirt templates, along with videos and photos to share.

For a little more about the global water crisis, watch the trailer from Flow: For Love of Water, below:

Be sure to check out the interactive event map for World Water Day, and remember:

“Whether we live upstream or downstream, we are all in the same boat.”

1 WaterAid, 2005, 2 UNICEF/WHO Water for Life, Making it Happen, 2005

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