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Celebrate World Water Day!

March 22, 2011

World Water Day, taking place today, is an international day created by the United Nations in 1992 to address the growing global water crisis.

According to the World Water Day website, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 of each year as the World Day for Water by adopting a resolution to take on the issue of the shortage of water supplies in developing countries.

The U.N. said that 27 percent of the world’s city dwellers in the developing world lives without piped water at homes, while proper sanitation faces even greater challenges.

“We have a crisis, we must recognize that,” Joan Clos, UN Habitat executive director, told an event marking the day.

“We need to act now. This is a common action at the same time against the slums and against lack of water and sanitation. It’s the same problem, it’s the same solution: urban planning.”

The U.N. poverty-reduction Millennium Development Goals had seen improvements but unplanned urbanization and unprecedented migration to cities have expanded slums without basic water sanitation services.

“In general, more or less, everything is improving. But in the urban environment in some parts of the world and in Africa in particular we are facing a crisis. Things are not improving, they are worsening,” said Clos.

There are 827.6 million people who live in slums often lacking adequate drinking water and sanitation facilities, according to statistics provided by the World Water Day 2011 website.

A lack of safe water and sanitation leads to cholera, malaria and diarrhea and to 3.5 million deaths each year. 

Water.org said the “water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.”

The site also said that nearly one billion people of the world lack access to safe water, and 2.5 billion people do not have approved sanitation.

Snehal Desai, global marketing director for Dow Water and Process Solution, said in an op-ed for Forbes.com that some analysts predict that only 60 percent of the world’s population will have available water supplies by 2030.

According to Water.org, every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.

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