Celebrating World Water Day: A Vital Resource Under Threat

Celebrating World Water Day: A Vital Resource Under Threat

Every 22 March, the world comes together to celebrate World Water Day, an occasion to reflect on this vital resource's importance and acknowledge the challenges we face in its preservation and sustainable management. On a planet where water covers approximately 71% of its surface, it's easy to assume this resource is infinite. However, the reality is that only 2.5% of that total is freshwater; of that fraction, only a tiny portion is readily available for human consumption.


Water on Earth can be found in various forms and places, each with unique characteristics and properties. Among these, the following stand out:


  1. Saltwater:

Saltwater constitutes approximately 97.5% of the total water on Earth and is primarily found in oceans and seas. Although these vast expanses of water are essential for regulating the climate and sustaining marine life, their high salt content makes them unsuitable for human or agricultural consumption without desalination, which is costly and energy-intensive.

  1. Freshwater:

 The remaining 2.5% of water on Earth is freshwater, but not all of it is available for direct human use. Most of it is trapped in glaciers and polar ice caps, while a significant fraction is locked in the soil or underground forms such as aquifers. Only about 1% of freshwater is readily accessible in lakes, rivers, and streams. This diminutive portion is crucial for meeting humanity's basic needs, from domestic consumption to agriculture and industry.

The most pressing challenge we face regarding freshwater is its sustainable management and the protection of its quality. As the world's population continues to grow and water demands increase, we face a series of threats that endanger this vital resource:

  1. Pollution:

   Industrial, agricultural, and urban pollution has affected freshwater quality worldwide. Chemicals, toxic waste, and excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus have contaminated rivers, lakes, and aquifers, endangering human health and aquatic biodiversity.

  1. Excessive Extraction:

 Overexploitation of water resources has led to declining water levels in many freshwater bodies. Excessive extraction for agricultural, industrial, and domestic use, as well as the alteration of natural water courses, has caused water scarcity in many regions, exacerbated by climate change and desertification.