World Water Day is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.
The United Nations General Assembly subsequently designated March 22 each year as the World Day for Water, inviting states to devote the day to implement its recommendations and carry out activities as deemed appropriate within the national context.
Released ahead of World Water Day, the WWF report, World’s Top 10 Rivers at Risk, lists the top ten rivers round the world that are drying out or dying as a result of climate change, pollution and dams.
The list includes the Danube in Europe, the La Plata and Rio Grande/Rio Bravo in the Americas, Africa’s Nile-Lake Victoria system and Australia’s Murray-Darling, but also highlights the profound problems facing Asia, where five of ten 10 rivers listed in the report — the Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Ganges and Indus — are found .
The report concludes that poor planning and inadequate protection of natural areas mean that water is unlikely to flow forever, calling on governments to better protect river flows and ensure more sustainable water allocations in order to safeguard habitats and people’s livelihoods and ensure a secure environment for businesses.
‘The world is facing a massive freshwater crisis, which has the potential to be every bit as devastating as climate change,’ commented Dr David Tickner, head of WWF-UK’s Freshwater program. ‘We need business leaders and government to recognize that climate change is not the only urgent environmental issue that needs to be dealt with, and that they need to take notice of this freshwater emergency and act now, not later.’
He added that, ‘Conservation of rivers and wetlands and security of water flows must be seen as part and parcel of national security, health and economic success. Emphasis must be given to exploring ways of using water for crops and products that do not use more water than necessary’.
World Water Day