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World Water Day (March 22, 2017): Facts about water

  • World Water Day is celebrated every 22nd of March. To say water is life is never an overstatement. Water supports every aspect of existence; it’s an important supporter of the economy, an essential ingredient in health sector development, etc.

    The United Nations’ theme for this year’s water day celebration is “Why Wastewater?”

    Wastewater is defined as “a combination of one or more of:

    • domestic effluent consisting of blackwater (excreta, urine and faecal sludge) and greywater (kitchen and bathing wastewater);
    • water from commercial establishments and institutions, including hospitals;
    • industrial effluent, stormwater and other urban run-off;
    • agricultural, horticultural and aquaculture effluent, either dissolved or as suspended matter” (Corcoran et al. 2010)

    The focus is to create robust discussions around wastewater and provide efficient platforms where wastewater can be channeled to and effectively utilized.

    In celebration of the 2017 World Water Day, let me share with you some interesting facts about water:

    • After agriculture, industry is the second largest user of water.
    • The largest single use of water by industry is for cooling in thermal power generation.
    • 3,900 children die each day due to dirty water or poor hygiene.
    • In 2002, more than half the world’s population used [ water from a pipe connection at home.
    • Singapore is recycling “gray water” to drinking quality standards by using a new filtration technology.
    • Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water (UN WWAP 2003), the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population of 6.8 billion people.
    • Sanitation and drinking water investments have high rates of return: for every $1 invested, there is a projected $3-$34 economic development return. (UN WWAP 2009)
    • All humans need a basic minimum of 2 liters (1/2  gal) of water each day for consumption.
    • ¼ of most household water use goes towards flushing toilets. A toilet flush uses 11 liters (3 gals) of water. A load of laundry uses 150 liters (40 gals) of water. A ten‐minute shower uses 190 liters (50 gals) of water.
    • Women and girls represent 72% of those typically responsible for collecting water.
    • Patients with water‐related diseases fill half the hospital beds in the poorest countries.
    • 97.5% of the Earth’s water is salty, meaning that only 2.5% of water is fresh. About 2/3 of fresh water is frozen, leaving < 1% available for consumption.


    Facts and Trends: World business council for sustainable development

    Facts on Water Worldwide 

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