2017 World Water Day Celebration
LIBRARIES DRIVING THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA
As the world population increases, water use triples. Water is important for the home, for agriculture, sanitation, health, for industries and for the survival of the entire ecosystem. The UN General Assembly in 1992 set aside March 22nd of every year as Water Day to raise awareness and focus attention on the importance of fresh water and sustainable use and management of fresh water resources. The 6th Goal of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) focuses on availability of clean and safe water to all by 2030. This Goal needs to be achieved as it is estimated that over 650 million live far away from clean water supply sources.
Water scarcity and water stress are becoming realities and major development challenges for many African countries. Sub-Saharan Africa has the largest number of water stressed countries of any region in the world. By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with full-fledged water scarcity. Sustainable agriculture, industrialization and urbanization all require copious amounts of water. When communities lack water, education suffers as children have to trek longer distances in search of water. Health takes a nosedive as sanitation is hard to maintain and diseases spread more easily. People are poorer and hungrier. Women and children mostly bear the brunt of water shortages as they have to trek long distances to get clean water or they make do with contaminated water with attendant health implications.
This year’s theme is ‘WasteWater’. Waste water could be ‘black water’, that is heavily polluted waste water for example water from the toilet. It could be ‘graywater’ – lightly polluted water from bathing, kitchen sinks and washing machines. Rainwater that is harvested - ‘greenwater’ is a form of wastewater too.
What can libraries do to help manage the impending water crises? How can we weigh in to assist in achieving SDGs Goal 6? Proactive information dissemination of course on water issues using the theme - WasteWater. We can do the following -
We need to create awareness about the water challenges that Africa faces. Libraries can do this effectively as we celebrate the 2017 World Water Day by mounting up displays, through road-walks, by going on to the media to canvass for sustainable usage of water and better water governance policies (please read up your country or region’s water policies). Resources are attached for libraries to use on the World Water Day.
Provide information on how to use waste water –
Find and show people good models of rain barrels for collection of rain water
Pass out information on how to harvest wastewater from the bathroom, the laundry and the kitchen.
Give out information on how to recycle wastewater for use in the gardens and in green areas. Water with high salt content can kill plants though. Include that as you disseminate the information. Water that runs out of the drainage holes of potted plants can be collected for other plants.
Teach people the necessity to remove leftover food and oil in plates and pots before washing them as this will generate better ‘wastewater’, produce less pollutants entering the wastewater system and sewers and ultimately help to protect the environment.
The amount of bleach and detergent used in laundry can cause in-balances in the ecosystem. Advocate for lesser use.
Let people know that all these will reduce their water bills and helps them to have water for small scale farming during drought and water restriction periods
You may join me as the Chairperson AfLIA Development Agenda Working Group on a Tweetchat as I am hosted by an SDGs Online Group @SDGSNGA on Twitter on 22nd March by 7pm GMT with the hashtag #WaterDay2017. I will talk about how libraries help drive the Development Agenda, how we are celebrating the Water Day and why it is absolutely necessary to include libraries in every national plan towards the achievement of SDGs.
Finally, take pictures of your displays and other activities during the Water Day on 22nd March, write a brief report and send to – AfLIA Communications ( afliacomm[at]aflia.net )
Find below posters you may use. Of course you can make them bigger on paper or flex or even make better ones!
Nkem Osuigwe PhD CLN
Chairman, Development Agenda Working Group