World Water Day

World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is a United Nations day to draw attention to something which most of us take for granted – clean water.

For WaterAid, it is a key day to highlight the fact that some 768 million people worldwide still lack access to safe, clean drinking water.

We believe this is unacceptable, and we use World Water Day as a moment in the calendar to draw attention to the issue, and ask people, organisations and governments everywhere to do something about it.

We're constantly surprised and moved by the different things people around the world do to mark the day – from dressing up as taps in their local shopping mall, to literally hundreds of thousands of people in developing countries who do organised 'walks for water' to demand that their governments provide this essential service.

Why is water important?

We all know that without water, there is no life. While very few people have no water at all, hundreds of millions have no choice but to drink from dirty water sources, putting their health and livelihood at risk. Clean, safe drinking water is a fundamental human right essential to health, dignity and development.

What is WaterAid doing?

With your help, we use the World Water Day to highlight the global water crisis, celebrate successes, campaign for governments to redouble their efforts, and to get even more people involved!

And, while it's great that for one day everyone talks about it, tackling the water crisis is a challenge that we're working on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In fact, every hour we install a new water point, helping 100 more people gain access to safe water.

Here's looking forward to World Water Day 2013!


An international day to celebrate fresh water was first recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. The following year, the United Nations General Assembly responded, and 22 March 1993 became the first ever World Water Day.

Since then, each World Water Day has had a specific theme: In 2012 it was 'Water and food security' and in 2011 it was 'Water for cities: responding to the urban challenge'. The emphasis, though, is always on that most precious of resources – fresh, clean, safe water.

Did you know?

Out of all the water on Earth, only 2.75% is fresh water: but that's made up of the 2.05% frozen in glaciers, 0.68% as groundwater and 0.011% of surface water in lakes and rivers. No wonder fresh water is sometimes called 'liquid gold'.