World Water Day to be marked on March 23

KATHMANDU: The World Water Day is being celebrated throughout the nation on March 22 during the Nepal Water Week from March 17 to March 23.

The UNESCO's theme for the day would be 'Water must be clean, it must stay clean and, most importantly it must be accessible for all'. Slogan for the day this year will be "Clean Water for a Healthy World".

"Degradation in water quality represents an unspeakable human tragedy and is a major obstacle to development" says UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova in a press statement issued here today. "Nepal Water Week makes an important contribution to highlight the links between water and development" says Axel Plathe, Head of Office and UNESCO Representative to Nepal applauding the Government's commitment to provide safe drinking water and sanitation services as a large portion of Nepal's population live without access to this basic service.

Particularly the rapid urbanisation is putting enormous challenges to the existing water supply and sanitation planning, management and governance that have to be tackled rapidly, reads the statement.

UNESCO, which hosts the World Water Assessment Programme, publishes the World Water Development Report every three years. It promotes capacity building for better management of water resources in a multi stakeholder approach through its water centres and chairs operating in many parts of the world.

The World Water Day is held annually on March 22 focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Word Water Day 2010 is supposed to raise the issues of water quality at the political level so that water quality considerations are made alongside of the water quantity.

"Water is fundamental to life on earth. For human populations and ecosystem to thrive, that water must be clean, it must stay clean and, most importantly, and it must be accessible to all," Bokova highlighted.

More than 2.5 billion people in the world live without proper sanitation. An estimated 884 million people, the majority of them in Africa, do not have access to safe drinking water. Some 1.5 million children under five die each year from sickness caused by water-borne diseases.

The degradation of water quality in rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater systems has a direct impact on ecosystem and human health. This state of affairs represents an unspeakable human tragedy, and is also major obstacle to development.