Cookies on Environmental Impact

Like most websites we use cookies. This is to ensure that we give you the best experience possible.


Continuing to use  means you agree to our use of cookies. If you would like to, you can learn more about the cookies we use.

Environmental Impact

From climate change to biodiversity loss - documenting human impacts on the environment

Environmental Impact is now available on our new platform, CABI Digital Library. Please note that this website will be discontinued shortly, and all access will be automatically redirected to CABI Digital Library.

Take a look at Environmental Impact on CABI Digital Library. 

News Article

World Water Day 2023

This year’s theme: Accelerating change


As the largest natural resource on Earth, water sustains life for all living species, but it is increasingly in demand and under threat. Water covers two thirds of the planet, but readily accessible freshwater, found in rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands accounts for less than 1 percent of the world’s water supply.  As global human population increases, so does the demand for water.  Additional pressures from human activity and climate change are disrupting natural water cycles and placing ecosystems at risk. This, combined with poor water management, resource extraction and infrastructure development further exacerbate the negative impacts on global freshwater systems.

World Water Day (WWD) is observed every year on March 22 as a means to raise awareness and inspire action to solve the water and sanitation crisis.  This year’s theme is accelerating change and a  campaign has been launched to encourage people to action in order to change the way they use, consume and manage water.  The UN have launched a campaign website where individuals can enter their commitments that will contribute to the Water Action Agenda – one of the main outcomes of the upcoming UN 2023 Water Conference, which takes place between 22-24 March in New York.  This will form a collection of voluntary promises from governments, companies, institutions, organisations, companies, coalitions and members of the public that is designed to deliver rapid progress on internationally-agreed water and sanitation targets, in particular the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Water and sanitation for all by 2030. 

According to the UN, to meet the drinking water, sanitation and hygiene targets of SDG 6 by 2030 will require a fourfold increase in the current pace of progress.  In February 2023, the UN published a series of snapshots that showcase examples of successful country action demonstrating that accelerated progress can be achieved. 

Improving water quality is critical in protecting the health of humans and ecosystems. An assessment by the UN in 2020 of rivers, lakes and aquifers in 97 countries revealed that 60 percent of water was of good ambient quality.  It also found that for at least 3 billion people, the quality of the water they depend on is unknown due to a lack of monitoring.  Furthermore, data is also lacking on groundwater.  The 2022 edition of the UN World Water Development Report highlights this issue, suggesting that “because it is invisible, groundwater tends to be poorly understood and mismanaged”.  Groundwater represents 97% of all liquid freshwater on the planet and the report notes the potential of groundwater to mitigate the scarcity of good quality water as well as the effects of climate change.

The next edition of the UN World Water Development Report will be released on World Water Day and this year it will shine a spotlight on partnerships and cooperation for water. This ties in with the theme of WWD and will aim to show how building partnerships and enhancing cooperation across all areas of sustainable development are important to accelerate progress towards water goals, human rights and sanitation.  The report will also provide policy recommendations to decision-makers by offering best practices and in-depth analyses.

Further information on WWD day can be found on the United Nations website.


Useful links

UN 2023 Water Conference programme

UN Environment Programme: Explore topics - Water

UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Water Action Agenda

UNESCO – World Water Day

UN-Water SDG 6 Data Portal

UN World Water Development Report - Archive (2014-present)

UN-Water SDG 6 Progress Reports

UN-Water SDG 6 Monitoring

World Economic Forum – Informing the Water Agenda

Article details

  • Date
  • 15 March 2023
  • Source
  • United Nations
  • Subject(s)
  • Climate Change