Green Cities Fit for Life

Image by Jean-Dominique Billaud

World Water Day

22 March 2012, Worldwide

International World Water Day is held annually on the 22nd of March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. In 2012, the theme is Water and Food Security.

There are 7 billion people to feed on the planet today and another 2 billion are expected to join by 2050. Statistics say that each of us drinks from 2 to 4 litres of water every day, however most of the water we ‘drink’ is embedded in the food we eat: producing 1 kilo of beef for example consumes 15,000 litres of water while 1 kilo of wheat ’drinks up’ 1,500 litres.

When a billion people in the world already live in chronic hunger and water resources are under pressure we cannot pretend the problem is ‘elsewhere’. Coping with population growth and ensuring access to nutritious food to everyone call for a series of actions we can all help with:

  • consume less water-intensive products;
  • reduce the scandalous food wastage: 30% of the food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water used to produce it is definitively lost!
  • produce more food, of better quality, with less water;
  • follow a healthier diet.

At all steps of the supply chain, from producers to consumers, actions can be taken to save water and ensure food for all.

Water consumption is one of the twelve environmental indicators used to assess applications by cities applying to become the European Green Capital. The 2012 European Green Capital Vitoria-Gasteiz has an ambitious objective of reducing domestic water consumption to below 100 litres per capita per day. Today the water consumption in Vitoria-Gasteiz, has decreased steadily from 1999 to 2009. Water-related investments have been made within the context of the Agenda 21 environmental action plan for improved water supply, to reduce losses, work towards sustainable consumption and improve water quality. A citizen’s information office on water consumption and efficiency has also been set up. Fore more information on what Vitoria-Gasteiz is doing click here

For more information on the assessment criteria for the European Green Capital Award click here

Do you know how much water you actually consume every day? How can you change your diet and reduce your water footprint? Join the World Water Day 2012 campaign “Water and Food Security” and find out more at the official website.

Worldwide events on the World Water Day 2012 will be published on the official events website.