World Water Day marks the start of the year of groundwater
Every year, the 22nd of March marks the celebration of World Water Day. And this year’s edition will have the theme ‘Groundwater, making the invisible visible’. IGRAC, a Delft-based UNESCO center, supported by the Dutch government and specialized in groundwater assessment, is this year one of the World Water Day co-coordinators.
Unlike other editions, the Groundwater theme will not only be at the center of the World Water Day celebration, but also of World Toilet Day 2022. Moreover, this ‘year of groundwater’ will be concluded by the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater, a high-level event where outcomes from all other (ground)water-related events will be used as input for discussions. The editorial team of Dutch Water Sector has asked IGRAC for a short overview.
“Groundwater is an important natural resource that greatly contributes to human development. We applaud this momentum of raising awareness on Groundwater and are proud to actively participate in the campaign", says Stefan Siepman of IGRAC.
World Water Day 2022
Although about 99% of all readily available freshwater in the world comes from groundwater, it is still often unknown and underappreciated. Stefan Siepman: "The problem with groundwater is that you don’t see it. And how do you make people care for something they do not see? That is why in 2022, the World Water Day is about making the invisible visible and raising awareness about this precious resource."
One of the interactive elements in the campaign, proposed by IGRAC, is #MyGroundwaterStory video challenge. People from around the world are asked to help making the invisible visible, by recording 1-minute messages in which they show and explain what groundwater means to them. The video challenge will span from World Water Day, 22 March, until the World Toilet Day 2022, 19 November, and the five most compelling messages will be displayed at the official opening of the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater.
A year dedicated to Groundwater
22 March is also the day that kicks of the International year of Groundwater. Many events in 2022 will feature the challenges and possible solutions of managing this precious resource sustainably. On 19 November 2022, the World Toilet Day will be celebrated following the same theme as World Water Day.
This year also features the UN-Water Summit on Groundwater, which will be held from 6-8 December 2022 at UNESCO HQ in Paris, France. This summit will bring attention to groundwater at the highest international level. Particular attention will be given to the five SDG 6 accelerators: data & information, capacity development, innovation, governance, and finance. In addition, it will include thematic sessions on transboundary aquifers, regional dialogues and science, policy, practice.
During the science, policy, practice session at the UN-Water Summit, the Groundwater Catalogue will be presented. The catalogue is a tool, created within the framework of the year of groundwater, that aims to assist policy and decision-makers in exploring suitable solutions for complex groundwater issues, based on factsheets, case studies and references. The current prototype will already be presented during a special session at the World Water Forum in Dakar. The feedback from this session will then be incorporated and the catalogue will be further developed, after which the final version will be presented at the summit in December.