FAQ Follow On:Twitter Google+ Facebook Tumblr subscribe by RSS or Email

World Water Day

|

Tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day, an event established by the United Nations in 1993 to highlight the challenges associated with this precious resource. Each year has a theme, and this year's is "Water and Food Security." The UN estimates that more than one in six people worldwide lack access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. And as the world's population grows beyond 7 billion, clean water is growing scarcer in densely populated areas as well as in remote villages. Collected here are recent images showing water in our lives -- how we use it, abuse it, and depend on it. [36 photos]

Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate  Choose:
A journalist takes a sample of polluted red water from the Jianhe River in Luoyang, Henan province, China, on December 13, 2011. According to local media, the sources of the pollution were two illegal chemical plants discharging their production wastewater into the rain sewer pipes. (Reuters/China Daily)
A journalist takes a sample of polluted red water from the Jianhe River in Luoyang, Henan province, China, on December 13, 2011. According to local media, the sources of the pollution were two illegal chemical plants discharging their production wastewater into the rain sewer pipes. (Reuters/China Daily)
Very low water levels in El Atazar's reservoir near El Berrueco in Madrid, on March 16, 2012. Spanish farmers are already on drought alert after the country's driest winter in 70 years. Spaniards emerged from their usual sweltering summer last year gasping for rain, but over the past three winter months Spain has had average precipitation of just 55 liters per square meter, far below the average of 200 liters. The latest official drought report on February 22 said Spain's reservoirs were only two-thirds full, meaning less water for the fields where crops grow and animals graze (Pierre-Philippe Marcou/AFP/Getty Images) #
Ice chunks break off the Perito Moreno glacier near the city of El Calafate in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, on March 2, 2012. As Perito Moreno moves forward, it cuts off a river feeding the lake. Water builds up pressure and slowly undermines the ice, forming a tunnel until ice comes tumbling down. The phenomenon repeats itself at irregular intervals; the last major ice falls occurred in 2008. (Reuters/Andres Arce) #
Workers stand in a new addition to the massive underground deep drainage tunnel system in Mexico City, on March 10, 2012. Mexico's President Felipe Calderon was on hand Saturday to inaugurate the new addition aimed at protecting the metropolitan city and its surrounding areas from flooding. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte) #
A young Indian boy drinks water from a public tap in Agartala, India, on March 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Sushanta Das) #
A 70-year-old sunken cemetery emerged after Jablanicko lake dried up near Jablanica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on February 1, 2012. The dams on the Neretva River near the lake feed a system that normally produces an average of 2,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, but the drought that began in August has shrunk output to just a quarter of that amount. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic) #
A groom leads his horse through an equine pool on February 2, 2012, in Mumbai, India, after working out on the track during early morning practice for the upcoming Derby race. (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui) #
A wastewater treatment plant is inundated by the Yazoo River floodwaters near Yazoo City, Mississippi, on May 22, 2011. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) #
A woman walks into a spray of water to get relief from the heat during the Rock in Rio music festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on October 1, 2011. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) #
A worker looks at a photographer from the door of a factory that manufactures screws and nuts, next to a polluted river in Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, on March 15, 2012. China's continuing reliance on heavy industry meant it failed to meet its own targets for cleaning its air and water in 2011. (Reuters/Stringer) #
An Indian technician watches the production line at the quality check division of the Aava Natural Mineral Water plant in Ahmedabad, India, on March 20, 2012. The plant is one of the largest manufacturers of natural mineral water in India, producing more than 1,500,000 bottles a day. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images) #
Red polluted water flows from a sewer into the Jian River in Luoyang, north China's Henan province, on December 13, 2011. According to local media, the sources of the pollution were two illegal chemical plants discharging their production wastewater into the rain sewer pipes. Authorities said they were working to shut them down and disassemble the workshops' machinery. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
Firefighters pour water into villagers' barrels in Xiliu, a village along Liujiang River in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, China, on February 2, 2012. The official probe into an incident which resulted in cadmium polluting a South China river is making progress and local police have detained eight executives from two companies that are suspected of waste dumping, Xinhua News Agency reported. (Reuters/China Daily) #
A firefighting plane dumps water near buildings in Marbella, Spain, on September 12, 2011. A forest fire is burning out control after forcing the evacuation of 300 homes in the town of Mijas near the resort city Marbella. (AP Photo/Sergio Torres) #
A boy swims along the algae-filled coastline of Qingdao, Shandong province, China, on July 15, 2011. (Reuters/China Daily) #
Fishermen row a boat in the knee-deep Neijing River near the city of Honghu in central China's Hubei Province, on May 30, 2011. Local fishermen say the water level was the lowest they had seen it in 70 years. (Reuters/David Gray) #
Kimberlie McEvoy collects water from her kitchen sink at her home in Evans City, Pennsylvania, on February 23, 2012. McEvoy's is one of at least 10 households in western Pennsylvania that fears its drinking water has been ruined by nearby natural gas drilling. State officials say tests don't show that. Residents say Rex Energy Corp. has sent letters notifying them it will no longer deliver drinking water to the households after February 29. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) #
Trash clogs a polluted canal at the edge of Beijing, China, on March 16, 2012. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
A balloon glides on the surface of Lake Burley Griffin in the Balloon Spectacular during Canberra Festival, on March 11, 2012 in Canberra, Australia. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images) #
A penguin has oil washed off by staff at the Tauranga Wastewater Treatment Wildlife Facility in Tauranga, New Zealand, on October 18, 2011. Salvage crews were pumping oil off the Rena, a stranded cargo ship, in an effort to remove as much as possible before bad weather broke the vessel apart. Over 300 tons of oil have leaked from Rena since it hit the reef on October 5, 2011. (Hannah Johnston/Getty Images) #
Water from a leaky fire hose rains down on neighborhood residents as they attempt to put out a fire that had already burned dozens of homes, in the New Building slum of central Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, on January 23, 2012. As firefighters struggled to get enough water pressure to make their firehoses work, residents fought the fire with buckets of wastewater and used mallets to tear down homes in the fire's path. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) #
Sudanese men pull drinking water from a well in Shendi, 150 km (93 mi) northeast of Khartoum, Sudan, on March 10, 2012. Lack of drinking water remains problematic in most homes in Shendi. (AP Photo/Abd Raouf) #
Guests enjoy thermal water in an outdoor pool at Szechenyi Thermal Baths during the 5th annual "Night of Baths" in Budapest, Hungary, on March 11, 2012. Following in the tradition of the city's Night of Museums, five thermal baths in Budapest were open to guests through the night to receive guests with various programs drawing public attention to the benefits of thermal waters. (AP Photo/MTI, Balazs Mohai) #
A church drowned within the tailing pond of the Rosia Poieni copper mine next to Lupsa village, 460 km west of Bucharest, Romania, on September 20, 2011. The former village of Geamana was engulfed by copper-mining residues years ago. The tailing pond has a surface of around 250 acres and is filled with millions of tons of heavy polluted waste. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images) #
A therapist from the Gezenguz (Rascal) Foundation works with an infant during an underwater nerve therapy session in Budapest, on October 27, 2011. Infants and children who have birth injuries and congenital developmental conditions or diseases seek rehabilitation at the foundation. (Reuters/Ferenc Redei) #
People paddle through the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage in Manila, Philippines, on April 24, 2011. (Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo) #
A ballerina drinks water during the Cuban National Ballet Gala concert at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, on August 2, 2011. (Reuters/Denis Sinyakov) #
Water contaminated with polyaluminium chloride flows through the Nuomitan power station to dilute the cadmium-polluted water in the Longjiang River, in Liuzhou, southwest China's Guangxi province, on January 30, 2012. China said that it had detained seven company executives after tons of industrial waste, including a toxic metal polluted a river, threatened water supplies for millions of people. (STR/AFP/Getty Images) #
A Christian pilgrim from Latin America emerges from the water of the Jordan River during a ceremony at the Yardenit baptismal site near the northern Israeli city of Tiberias, on February 21, 2012. (Reuters/Ammar Awad) #
Polluted water pours from an abandoned communist-era gold mine near Rosia Montana village, Romania, on September 20, 2011. A Canadian group is planning an open pit mine that has divided people and created controversy throughout Romania. Romanian President Traian Basescu has expressed strong support for the project, which will use large amounts of cyanide in an area famous for its Roman ruins. (Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images) #
The carcass of a cow lies on the ground in San Isidro de Cienega in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, on November 28, 2011. Mexico is still experiencing its worst drought in seven decades, affecting almost 70 percent of the country. (Reuters/Stringer) #
An employee erects a barrier following an oil spill from the Caño Limón-Coveñas pipeline, in Chinacota, Colombia, on December 11, 2011. The spillage affected the drinking water service in the city of Cucuta. (Manuel Hernandez/AFP/Getty Images) #
A busker plays an electric guitar as he stands in the Thames River at low tide in London, on March 15, 2012. (Reuters/Andrew Winning) #
A tourist swims in a lagoon at the entrance of La Cueva de los Peces (Cave of the Fish) along the coast of Cuba's Playa Giron, near the Bay of Pigs, southeast of Havana, in central Cuba, on January 25, 2012. (Reuters/Pablo Sanchez) #
An aerial view during a media tour by oil company Royal Dutch Shell shows an illegal oil refining site with the runoff from crude oil covering the banks along the Imo River, 30 km (20 miles) west of Nigeria's oil hub city of Port Harcourt, on September 22, 2011. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) #
Figures in an underwater sculpture park between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, photographed on December 11, 2010. The sculptures created by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor used "life casts" made from materials that encourage coral growth to build an underwater installation on the sea bed off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. (Reuters/Jorge Silva) #

Related links and information

Previous gallery | Next gallery | View All Back to top

Recent Entries

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

blog comments powered by Disqus

On Newsstands Now

Subscribe and SAVE 65%
10 issues JUST $2.45/COPY

The Atlantic Monthly

Why successful women lack self-assurance—and men have too much, the end of desegregation, the odd life of a retired pope, the case for secrecy, the annual money report, and more