Sunday, March 22, is World Water Day. The UN initiative began in 1993 as a means of celebrating freshwater resources around the world, and of raising awareness around the need to keep these resources clean and available to people everywhere who need them.
World Water Day 2009 is focusing on transboundary waters with its theme, "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities." Although predictions about the growing danger of water-related conflict are a heightening concern in the face of global population growth, unsustainable development, rampant pollution and climate change, the UN website offers one hopeful note from history:
The total number of water-related interactions between nations are weighted towards cooperation. There have been 507 conflict-related events as opposed to 1,228 cooperative ones. This implies that violence over water is not a strategically rational, effective or economically viable option for countries. In the 20th century, only seven minor skirmishes took place between nations over shared water resources, while over 300 treaties were signed during the same period of time.
In honor of the annual event, we've put together a short list of water innovations, stories, resources and big ideas, handpicked from the Worldchanging archive:
Photo: River Nile, Egypt.
Photo credit: Veronique RIGOT.