WORLD WATER DAY 2011 – Water for cities

Contestant #2 in our blog contest: Article by Thomas Bergel

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This is the first time in human history that most of the world’s population (3.3 billion people) live in cities and the urban landscape continues to grow.  38% of the growth is represented by expanding slums while the city populations are increasing faster than the infrastructure can adapt.

THE OBJECTIVE of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.  This year’s theme, WATER FOR CITIES: RESPONDING TO THE URBAN CHALLENGE, aims to spotlight and encourage governments, organizations, communities and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenge of urban water management.
 
THE CHALLENGE is a lack of safe water and adequate sanitation which is the world’s single largest cause of illness.  Two million people, most of them children, die every year from water born diseases such as diarrhea and millions become seriously debilitated. Aside from diarrhea, lack of safe water and poor management of human wastes spreads cholera, dysentery, typhoid, hepatitis, polio, trachoma and tapeworms – many of these can and are fatal to people in the developing world.  Other water-associated diseases such as malaria and filariasis affect vast populations worldwide.  More than 1 million people die every year from malaria alone.  Unsafe water and lack of sanitation are the major factors underlying many of the ten million child deaths every year.  Repeated episodes of water born diseases can push children to the brink of survival, leaving them too weak and malnourished to survive even common childhood illnesses.
 
WHAT CAN WE DO?  World Water day 2011 is being co-ordinated by Unhabitat and Unwater:http://www.worldwaterday2011.org/  where you will find more information and resources.  There are desktop backgrounds, official World Water Day 2011 Logos, T-shirt templates, mobile content and banners/buttons in a number of languages.  Everyone is encouraged to participate, co-ordinate or host an event. 
 
There is a list of over 100 events that have already been submitted as well as an opportunity to create and list a new event.  For more activities planned around the week of World Water Day 2011, to show support and find out more about how to help visit:http://waterday.org/  The more athletic among us might want to join with The World Walks for Water:http://www.worldwalksforwater.org/eng/  They have loads of resources to join or organize and promote a walk including a guide, posters, leaflets and even Twitter backgrounds.  There’s much more but here’s a start.  No matter if you just post a banner on your blog or go full in, everything is appreciated and everything will help.
 
Submitted by Thomas Bergel

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