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Intro: The Holy Bible says that at the time of creation of the world, the Earth was covered with water. Eons later, water has become a major cause of concern for the inhabitants of the Earth due to their own indifference. Observed on March 22 annually, World Water Day is an initiative of the United Nations to raise awareness about the importance of water and the need to conserve it, among the masses.

Formally proposed in Agenda 21 of 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22, as World Water Day in 1992. The first World Water Day was observed in 1993. Slated for a virtual observance, ‘Valuing Water’ is this year’s theme of World Water Day.

The initiative aims at achieving the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 — Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

The day focuses people’s attention on important issues as water scarcity, pollution, sanitation, et al. The COVID-19 outbreak has added hand washing and hygiene to the existing list. But one needs water, clean one at that, to do so, which is scarce in some parts of the world and is either being wasted or polluted in others.


Ironically, apathetic politicians continue to wash their hands off the matter terming it as a ‘mere hype’ created by the media, only to rake it up where jurisdictional issues are concerned, for their own vested interests.

When orators worldwide would be crying themselves hoarse over the worsening water crisis during this observation, women in the far-flung, desert areas of India and other backward countries would be walking for miles to fetch water for their families. The trek becomes harder for them as they advance in age, forcing them to endure the pain of living with polygamous spouses just for want of a younger and energetic woman to handle the job. The delusive nature of electoral promises of access to potable water supply too adds to their pain, which is further intensified by the still prevalent belief in casteism and the resultant unwillingness to share sources of water.

World Water Day aims at sensitizing the masses about the importance of water for the sustenance of life on Earth through various campaigns and motivating them to do their bit for its conservation. If this initiative of the UN, coupled with a recent report on a prospective famine-like situation in Himachal Pradesh due to water shortage caused by scant rain and snow, and a revelation about the poor quality of water in the Malwa belt of Punjab by the National Green Tribunal, cannot cause people to mend their ways, humanity might soon find itself praying for streams in a vast desert.

About the author:
Shaheen P. Parshad

Shaheen P. Parshad She holds a master degree in journalism and mass communication. She has worked as a journalist in national English dailies and currently works as a public relations professional.

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