World Water Day

World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as “World Day for Water”.

In the right column you can download the book “Global Water Issues”, published by the State Department in 2011. Below, you can read the foreword:

Imagining a Tomorrow …


by Maria Otero — Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs

“If the millions of women who haul water long distances had a faucet by their door, whole societies could be transformed.”
Tina Rosenberg
“The Burden of Thirst”
National Geographic Magazine, April 2010

Imagine for a moment being on your childhood playground. Relieved to be out of the classroom, you run with friends, climb the jungle gym, and maybe pause for a drink of water from a silver fountain next to the swings.

As a 9-year-old girl growing up in Bolivia, my playground was likewise a happy place — until one day when I innocently drank from the school tap. It wasn’t long before the contaminated water took its effect: I contracted a serious bout of hepatitis, missing three months of school — and playtime.

Unfortunately, I share my playground memory with far too many children around the world. Millions of people suffer from lack of potable water, and more than 4,300 children die each day from water-related diseases. This reality is simply unacceptable.

Water is crucial to nearly every aspect of human activity. Besides being key to human survival and growth, water is the fuel that drives economic and political stability. From withstanding drought to controlling floods, achieving water security is one of the great diplomatic and development challenges — and opportunities — of our time. And that’s why Secretary Clinton, along with President Obama, recognizes the need to make water security a global imperative, and they have asked USAID Administrator Raj Shah and me to lead our efforts.

The United States is striving to offer assistance for the many international organizations, governments and agencies involved in facing the diverse, complex and urgent challenges associated with water security — many of which are outlined in this book. As water becomes increasingly scarce, our success is contingent on our mutual dialogue, discipline and cooperation.

This book demonstrates the United States’ continued commitment to this issue and our unrelenting pursuit of effective solutions. In its chapters, we see firsthand accounts of the vast impact that fresh water has on the world’s population. The articles touch on global health and food security, but they also highlight the personal and human dimension with poignant water stories such as that of Hadiza Ali, a mother from the Zinder region of Niger who lacks access to a clean source of drinking water. The result is an illustration of the depths of the challenges we all face and the multiple obstacles encountered when confronting ineffective water management situations.

But the book also offers hope for a water-secure future. Just as a pebble thrown in a pond creates huge ripples, small modifications in policy, infrastructure and behavior can have a tremendous impact.

I would like to thank the many water scholars and practitioners who devoted their time and their knowledge to this book. I am convinced that within these pages, you will arrive at the same sense of hope: Together, we can achieve a world in which no wars are fought over water, clean water is no longer a luxury but a standard, and playgrounds remain scenes for happy memories.