Today is World Water Day!!

This has been celebrated globally every year for more than 20 years following the United Nations General Assembly’s designation of 22 March as ‘World Water Day’ in 1993.

The focus this year is on groundwater.


The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation issued a statement calling for the world to end overexploitation of groundwater.

Read his statement here and watch his video message for World Water Day.


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.


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.

On this day, we encourage you to think about your own water usage and how you can help contribute to clean groundwater. Below are some simple suggestions – maybe you have others?

·         Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, while shampooing your hair…

·         Use environmentally friendly cleaning and gardening products

·         Invest in rain water collectors and use that to water your garden

·         Invest in a water filter rather than use bottled water

·         Favour plants that do not need a lot of water

·         Take part in initiatives to clean up the ocean, lakes and rivers.

Read on to learn more about groundwater and about OHCHR’s work on the right to water and the right to water and sanitation.

Warm regards,

Sustainable Environmental Management Group

Learn more about groundwater

What is it exactly? What can we do to protect it?

Check out a range of videos  on this page – scroll down to the “Drill Down Deeper” section.

You’ll also find a variety of resources for the younger generations – such as videos, a colour in poster for kids, a quiz for young people, and more.


What’s happening on World Water Day?

The 9th World Water Forum is currently taking place in Dakar, Senegal.

Yesterday, on 21 March, The UN World Water Development Report 2022 “Groundwater – making the invisible visible” was launched.

Today, key findings of the report will be presented at an event  for heads of state and prominent water sector leaders. More info here.


The Alternative Water Forum – an alternative to the World Water Forum (WWF) which is organized by the World Water Council and which takes place from 21-16 March, also in Dakar, Senegal.

Check the programme here.


Webinars on “Future gazing: groundwater action as climate action”

The International Water Resources Association (IWRA) will host two World Water Day webinars focusing on “Future gazing: groundwater action as climate action”. Both webinars will discuss the same topic but will include different panelists. The speakers will explore challenges, tipping points and triggers for groundwater resource management, and how creativity and innovation offer possibilities and opportunities for the next generations of groundwater resource professionals.

Webinar 1: 8 AM (CET), 22 March
Webinar 2: 4 PM (CET), 22 March

Join here.

OHCHR and Water and Sanitation

Access to safe, affordable and reliable drinking water and sanitation services are basic human rights. They are indispensable to sustaining healthy livelihoods and maintaining people’s dignity. Human rights to water and sanitation are essential for eradicating poverty, building peaceful and prosperous societies, and ensuring that ‘no one is left behind’ on the road towards sustainable development.

In 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 64/292 recognizing “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights”. Subsequently, the Human Rights Council, in September 2010, affirmed this recognition.


In 2015, the GA recognized that right to water and right to sanitation are two distinct but interlinked rights (Res/70/169).

UN Human Rights works, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights, to promote the practical realization of human rights to water and sanitation and the human rights-based approach to the implementation of SDG 6. We aim to achieve this through:

Read more on our website and check out the Fact Sheet on The Right to Water.

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