Observing World Water Monitoring Day
Today we celebrate World Water Monitoring Day. It was initiated by the Clean Water Foundation back in 2003, proposed as a program to bring public awareness to the problems of maintaining clean, worldwide water resources. The program began as an educational project to teach people with limited knowledge how to monitor their own resources of water.
Originally this day was honored on October 18, the anniversary of the signing of the Clean Water Act in 1972. The main goal of that law was to protect the resources of “clean water” in the United States. In 2007, this day of recognition was shifted to the 18th of September so that participation in the proposed sampling and monitoring events would not be affected by colder weather in October.
What it means for us
What does World Water Monitoring Day mean for the environment and the majority of people? Maintaining clean water resources is obviously not just a North American issue, but it can be easily ignored here. Clean water is an easily accessed commodity for people living in physically civilized "first world" cities. It is easy to blissfully overlook its purity. In most cases, people have access to pure water from their taps — it is protected and monitored by local regulatory authorities and there is no need to apply any actions to access clean water free of harmful substances.
However, not all tap water across the world is as clear and clean as it is thought to be. Water quality is an issue in wealthy countries too, if not necessarily at the severity in other territories. World Water Monitoring Day was conceived to educate those affected by water with purity issues: to sample and test their water resources if there is reason to believe it is contaminated. It is an opportunity to inform the local, regional and international authorities of water issues in their area and advocate for improvement of their water sources. With the spread of awareness, local authorities can influence and educate the local population on maintaining clean water practices.
More information on residential/consumer water monitoring can be found on the EarthEcho Water Challenge website at www.worldwatermonitoringday.org. EarthEcho is a nonprofit organization that aims to educate youth all over the world on how to monitor their water. So far, there are 1.5 million people in 146 countries who have participated in the program. Individuals and event organizations can register on the website and get information about the results of their tests and how to take further actions.
Eurofins cannot be more inspired by a day that is set aside for water monitoring. Our business has been built on the mission to “contribute to global health and safety by providing our customers with high-quality laboratory and advisory services.” It works for our customers here in the US and Europe because there are regulations and monetary resources to make it happen. Let us all remember why we need to protect our natural resources and support those organizations that are making positive impacts in countries that are not blanketed by regulations like the Clean Water Act or have the economy to support their local watersheds and over health of the local communities.
World Water Monitoring Day Facts
- More than 95% of the entire amount of water on the Earth contains salt.
- Out of the total amount of fresh water, only about 1% of it is available for drinking.
- Roughly 2% of the world's fresh liquid is in the Arctic territories.
- Water use isn't limited to drinking — communities use it for irrigating, cooking, cleaning, electricity, etc.
- Almost 2 billion people are affected by contaminated water sources.
- An estimated 2.5 billion people in the world don’t have adequate sanitation resources.
- Unsafe drinking water, inadequate availability of water for hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to disease. More than 5,000 people, many of them children, pass away every day because of contaminated water sources.
- According to the United Nations, by 2025, two-thirds of the world's population will be living in countries with water scarcity or stress. The countries that suffer most from shortages of water, farmland and food are developing countries with the highest population growth rates.
- On average, a person living in a "first world" country uses almost 50 liters of fresh water every day.
- African girls and women expend more than 5 hours a day to fetch water. According to the United Nations and UNICEF, one in five girls of primary-school age are not in school, because they are responsible for collecting the family’s water during school hours.
World Health Organization and UNICEF. Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target: The Urban and Rural Challenge of the Decade.
Cutler D, Miller G. 2004. The role of public health improvements in health advances: the 20th century United States. - National Bureau of Economic Research. Working Paper 10511. Cambridge, MA, USA.
World Health Organization and UNICEF. Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation: 2012 Update.-United States: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation; 2012.