What is World Water Day?

Nuku’alofa – March 22, 2019: 1.15pm (Enviro News): To celebrate World Water Day today – March 22 – the Lands and Survey Ministry distributed posters carrying important information on the need for water.

The world today celebrated the important day.

This World Water Day, 22nd March, is about tackling the water crisis by addressing the reasons why so many people are being left behind.

Reliance on bottled water locally continues to grow

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is crystal clear: water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind. But today, billions of people are still living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive.

Marginalized groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need.

Tonga, like any other developing country, faces its own challenges as far as having safe and clean drinking water for its people is concerned.

The Tonga Water Authority has the important task of ensuring there is clean and safe water to be used by the people of Tonga.

Water tanks can be seen at most homes around the Kingdom as reliance on rainwater is also increasing

While the tap water that is supplied from its Matakieua system is now being termed safe to drink and use, most locals turn to bottled water – either locally or imported – for their drinking water supply.

There is also a big reliance on rain water that is harvested from rooftops and stored in water tanks at residences across the Kingdom.

So what can we learn from the 2019 World Water Day?

WHAT IS THE THEME?
The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’. This is an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.


HOW DOES IT RELATE TO WATER?
Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) includes a target to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030. By definition, this means leaving no one behind.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Today, billions of people are still living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive. Marginalized groups – women, children, refugees, indigenous peoples, disabled people and many others – are often overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need.

WHAT DOES ‘SAFE WATER’ MEAN?
‘Safe water’ is shorthand for a ‘safely managed drinking water service’: water that is accessible on the premises, available when needed, and free from contamination.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Whoever you are, wherever you are, water is your human right. Access to water underpins public health and is therefore critical to sustainable development and a stable and prosperous world. We cannot move forward as a global society while so many people are living without safe water.

WHAT IS THE HUMAN RIGHT TO WATER?
In 2010, the UN recognized “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.” The human right to water entitles everyone, without
discrimination, to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use; which includes water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.

WHY ARE PEOPLE BEING LEFT BEHIND WITHOUT SAFE WATER?
People are left behind without safe water for many different reasons. The following are some of the ‘grounds for discrimination’ that cause certain people to be particularly disadvantaged when it come to accessing water:
• Sex and gender
• Race, ethnicity, religion, birth, caste, language, and nationality
• Disability, age and health status
• Property, tenure, residence, economic and social status
Other factors, such as environmental degradation, climate change, population growth, conflict, forced displacement and migration flows can also disproportionately affect marginalized groups through impacts on water.

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