World Water Day 2022
What is World Water Day?
World Water Day is on 22 March every year. It is an annual United Nations Observance, started in 1993, that celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2 billion people currently living without access to safe water. A core focus of World Water Day is to inspire action towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
2022 Theme: Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible
Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. In the driest parts of the world, it may be the only water people have.
Almost all of the liquid freshwater in the world is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. In many places, human activities over-use and pollute groundwater. In other places, we simply do not know how much water is down there.
Groundwater will play a critical role in adapting to climate change. We need to work together to sustainably manage this precious resource.
What is groundwater?
Groundwater is water found underground in aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sands and gravels that can hold water.
Why should we care about groundwater?
Groundwater is being over-used in many areas, where more water is abstracted from aquifers than is recharged by rain and snow. Groundwater pollution is a particular problem that can take decades or even centuries to recover from. In some places, we do not know how much groundwater lies beneath our feet, which means we could be failing to harness a potentially vital water resource. Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population.
What can we do about groundwater?
We must protect groundwater from pollution and use it sustainably, balancing the needs of people and the planet. Groundwater’s vital role in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems and climate change adaptation must be reflected in sustainable development policymaking.
A Note From Our President
The theme for this year’s World Water Day event is “Groundwater – Making the Invisible Visible”. Within the lake management community, groundwater is often an unforgotten factor when it comes to surface water quality. While lake management often focuses on watershed based sources, and rightly so, its groundwater that can often present challenges for surface water quality. This is especially the case as more information and data becomes available about long-term compounds that don’t break down with oxidation and exposure to sunlight, such as the PFAS suite of compounds being a prime example.
I invite you to join me in learning about the “invisible” water source that is the major source of surface water in the world. I have been fortunate enough to work on dozens of groundwater projects and the unique challenges that managing groundwater can present. Share any stories, thoughts and feelings about groundwater (and what it means for lakes, in particular) via social media. Tag your posts with #WorldWaterDay and mention NALMS to help raise awareness about the value of water overall and the work we are doing to manage and protect lakes.
Chris L. Mikolajczyk, CLM