World Water Day celebrates Water and Awareness of the Global Water

Michael D. Pfeifer
Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of San Angelo
April 22, 2022
Reproduced with Permission

World Water Day, March 22nd focuses on the most essential element of all life which is water. The value of water is much more than its price - water has an enormous and complex value for all our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and the integrity of our natural environment.

World Water Day is an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993 and focuses on the importance of water. World water day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people living without access to water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. The theme of World Water Day 2022 is GROUNDWATER - MAKING THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE. Groundwater is invisible but its impact is visible everywhere. Almost all the liquid water in the world is underground. Water day is to inspire action towards sustainable development: Water and sanitation for all by 2030.

We love water and it goes without saying that we love our planet, so World Water Day isn't just a celebration of water but a global reminder that water and climate change are inextricably linked. Water is under extreme threat from a growing population, increasing demands of agriculture and industry and the worsening impact of climate change. According to the UN there are 129 countries not on track to have sustainably manage water resources by 2030 and the current rate of progress must be doubled.

All water begins at a local level therefore corporate, agricultural and industrial must take into consideration the impact of their water use on the local population and surrounding ecosystems. According to recent reports, the American West's mega-drought deepened so much last year that it is now the driest in at least 1200 years and is a worst-case climate change scenario. Climate change is literally baking the water supply and forests of the Southwest and it could even get worse if we don't address more seriously climate change soon.

Sustainability involves maintaining or improving the material social conditions for human health and environment over time without exceeding the ecological capabilities that support them.

God gave human beings the gracious gift of earth with water for our use and that of future generations. Our mandate from God is to care for and complete the work of creation, and to perfect its harmony and growth for our good and that of our neighbors. Pope Francis highlights World Water Day by quoting from St. Francis in referring to the natural resources as "sister water", which he described as a "wonderful and irreplaceable gift of God". "It is necessary to assure potable water and hygienic services to all". In his inspiring and challenging letter, on Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis calls for an urgent conversation about the crisis of water and other ecological issues affecting our common home and addresses this call to every person living on this planet.

Ground water is being over-used in many areas where more is abstracted from aquafers than is recharged by rain and snow. Ground water pollution is a particular problem that can take decades or even centuries to recover. We must protect ground water from pollution and use it sustainably, balancing the needs of people and the planet. Protecting the vital role of ground water must be reflected in sustainable development policy making.

World Water Day calls all of us to a water management and resource distribution ethic that must be guided by considerations for the common good of the people of the world and the natural systems of the planet itself. Our fundamental orientation towards the creative world should be one of caring, gratitude and thankfulness to God for beautiful planet Earth which is our common home.