As we do every year, on this day, March 22nd, we are celebrating World Water Day. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water globally. World Water Day is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis and achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030. The theme of World Water Day 2021 is “Valuing Water.” Beyond the issues of pricing, this topic includes the environmental, social, and cultural value people place on water.

Water means different things to different people, whether it be for cultural practices, your home and family life, your livelihood, your wellbeing or your local environment. However, we can all agree that water is essential to life, not only for humans, but also for the environment. Every living thing depends on water in some form.

The Covid-19 pandemic has elevated the need for and the value of water, while also highlighting the lack of access to clean, good quality water for health and sanitation. The pandemic brought the issue of water equity to the forefront of our imaginations, made us think of the homeless and vulnerable; and how they access water. Covid-19 caused us to think of water in a way we hadn’t in a very long time. “Wash your hands when you get home, and keep scrubbing them for at least 20 seconds” – that is good advice, with or without the coronavirus. Clean water is needed to wash fruits and vegetables, which helps to make them safe for consumption. However, there is one big problem: more than 40 per cent of the world’s population lives in regions where water is scarce or contaminated and is increasingly becoming more so. Guyana, although it has a wealth of water resources, is not an exception to this statistic. Today, there are many people that do not have regular access to safe water in Guyana. This is why Government is working assiduously to ensure all Guyanese have access to clean water sources and supply. This year’s budget will further address issues of potable water in rural and other communities across the country. 

It is for this reason that World Water Day is observed annually, to raise awareness about the vital importance of water to safeguarding human life and maintaining the health of the planet’s ecosystems. This year’s theme, highlights the urgent importance of strengthening water security and establishing access to sustainable water supplies.

The Hydrometeorological Service remains committed to working with all national partners to improve the management of our national water resources in an effort to combat the challenges of too little, too much or too polluted water. The Service is aware that Guyana cannot effectively manage water resources which it does not measure. To address this, steps are being taken towards improving our hydrological observational network to provide the data and support services required for sound water management. The Ministry of Agriculture will make strategic interventions to modernize and upgrade infrastructure to advance supportive water management.

While fostering sustainable access to water resources needs to be considered in our national and international policies, individuals also have the responsibility of practicing good management of our water resources in our everyday lives. We encourage farmers to adopt practices such as using drip irrigation systems to minimize the waste of water, as well as setting up rainwater harvesting systems which can help to ensure access to water. We all have a role to play to secure our water supplies and to ensure that we emphasize the value of water through responsible use. When we value water, we will secure and use it efficiently.

Happy World Water Day 2021!