The United Nations has defined access to adequate water as an important global issue with an estimated BILLION people lacking such access. The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's message for the world today is available online here and includes the imperative that, “without water there is no dignity and no escape from poverty.” He also states that this year's theme is “WATER FOR CITIES” to highlight urban water issues. His future policies will “connect the dots among water, energy and food security.”
• A World Water Day Slideshow: Everything You Need to Know About H20 is available online here, courtesy of GOOD magazine.
• The UNICEF Tap Project is being implemented at thousands of restaurants this week; upscale dining establishments are asking patrons to donate $1 for tap water with their meals, reminding people that even tap water is a privilege in many parts of the world. Since it was launched in 2007, the Tap Project has raised $2.5million to support UNICEF's global water and sanitation projects. This year's revenue will be directed to Togo, the Central African Republic and Vietnam.
• For positive ways to contribute and celebrate World Water Day this year, check out Mashable's list here.
• A World Water Day photo slideshow and video are available on Terra's website here.
• Here is the Center for Disease Control's World Water Day informational page.
• The United Nations' Deputy Secretary-General has posted this youtube video for World Water Day.
• Treehugger has posted this story which includes 22 links to “key stories for understanding water issues.”
• Check out Chris Perry's award-winning animated short The Incident at Tower 37 here.
• South Africa = This year's World Water Day conference concluded today in Cape Town. The theme was “Water and Urbanization: Responding to the Urban Challenge,” appropriately held on the African continent where the rate urbanization rate is the highest in the world. Over a thousand government, civil society and private sector representatives were present, discussing the relationship between water, public health, sanitation, and the need for better “collaboration and communication between sectors.” (IRIN)
• USA = American scientist Stephen Carpenter has won this year's Stockholm Water Prize for his work on practical frameworks for freshwater resource management. (WW)
• Philippines = Officials rehabilitating the Las Pinas-Zapote river system have won a UN Best Practice Award for their progress in a local re-greening process. The project has been underway since 2002, with local “river watch” volunteers planting bamboo and mangroves to prevent soil erosion after undergoing training in ecological solid waste and river management. (IRIN)
• Occupied Palestinian Territories = A new wastewater treatment plant is being constructed near Rafah to serve 180,000 people with reduced-contamination water which will be clean enough for irrigation purposes. This should help reduce several public health and environmental risks, but overall the water situation in the Gaza strip remains critical. (ICRC)