Rolling out of bed, you sip a glass of water before hopping into your hot shower. You give some leftover water to your houseplants, make a pot of coffee with tap water, and rinse some berries to top your breakfast cereal with. The ocean might be in your backyard, or you may be land-locked. Water might help you feel connected to nature, your spirituality, or simply friends and family during summer vacation. Some of your favorite childhood memories might be playing in the snow, visiting a water park, or exploring a neighborhood stream.
Water, a simple combination of hydrogen and oxygen, takes on a multitude of physical forms, purposes, and meanings around the world. Though each perspective is unique, water’s importance is universal. This year, the organizers of World Water Day are asking millions of people—what does water mean to you?
The 2021 World Water Day theme, “Valuing Water”, encourages a conversation about how water is viewed globally. By sharing and understanding how water can play different roles in people’s lives, UN Water, the coordinator of World Water Day, hopes to protect water in all of its unique applications, promoting fair management and dispersal. These perspectives include water sources, water infrastructure, water services, water as an input to socio-economic development, and socio-cultural importance of water.
An annual global campaign, World Water Day uses a different theme each year to help raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people without access to clean water. In educating others and taking action through the annual UN World Water Development Report, they hope to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030. Previous year’s themes include “Water and Climate Change”, “Better Water, Better Jobs”, and “Leaving No One Behind”.
However, reflecting on this year’s theme in particular, one can feel the global connection surrounding our collective experiences with water, despite our feeling more distanced than ever. World Water Day uses people’s unique understandings of water to show how similarly crucial it is in our lives, beyond its life-sustaining necessity. In encouraging people to find these connections, World Water Day begins an important conversation that should not end on March 22nd. The ongoing issue of safe water access requires people to recognize the diverse importance of water in their lives, and the universality of this experience.