Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletOctober 20, 2019

Earth Concerns News

International Observance of Water Day Is March 22 by Sister Clare Pelkey, CSJ

The international observance of 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 adopted a resolution on December 22, 1992, in which March 22 of each year was declared World Water Day, to be observed starting in 1993 in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) as contained in Chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources, Agenda 21). States were invited to devote the day, as appropriate in the national context, to concrete activities, such as the promotion of public awareness through the publication and diffusion of documentaries and the organization of conferences, roundtables, seminars and exposition related to the conservation and development of water resources and the implementation of the recommendations of Agenda 21.

The body of the United Nations, designated to coordinate the activities of World Water Day 2006, is UNESCO=s Division of Water Sciences. The theme, Water and Culture of WWD 2006, draws attention to the fact that there are as many ways of viewing, using and celebrating water as there are cultural traditions across the world. Sacred water is at the heart of many religions and is used in different rites and ceremonies. Fascinating and ephemeral, water has been represented in art for centuries, as well as in music, painting, writing and cinema, and water is also an essential factor in many scientific endeavors.

We plan our cities near water; we bathe in water; we play in water; we work with water. Our economies are built on the strength of water transportation, and the products we buy and sell are all partly water in one way or another. Our daily lives are built on water and shaped by it. Without the water that surrounds us, the humidity of the air, the roughness of the river=s current, the flow from the kitchen tap, our life would be impossible.

In recent decades, water has fallen in our esteem. No longer an element to be revered and protected, water is a consumer product that we have shamefully neglected. Eighty percent of our bodies are formed of water, and two-thirds of the planet=s surface is covered by water. Water is our life.

Each region of the world has a different way of holding water sacred, but each recognizes its value and its central place in human life. Cultural traditions, indigenous practices and societal values determine how people receive and manage water in the world=s different regions.     

As the UN=s focal point for the promotion of cultural diversity, UNESCO aims to preserve and respect the specificity of each culture, bringing them all together and extending them in a more interactive and interdependent world. (from www.



Recall some of the traditions of your own cultural heritage in which water played an important role.



On March 22, be aware of the many times you use water during the day. Try forgoing its use one of these times. How does the sacrifice affect you? Your actions? Your needs?



Visit the UNESCO website=s newsletter for more information and articles that provide insights into this crisis situation in the world.


(March 2006)