World Water Day: “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”

Press Release Posted On: March 22, 2022

World Water Day: “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible”

“Wishing a very Happy World Water Day to everyone. Without water, there can be no life and therefore, we must work hard to save water.”

Every year, on 22 March, World Water Day devotes attention to the importance of water. The theme of this year is, “Underground water” which has been critical but underestimated in the formulation of sustainable development policies. Underground water is an important resource that provides almost half of the world’s drinking water, about 40% of the water used for irrigated agriculture and about one third of the water used in industry. It supports ecosystems, supports the basic flow of rivers, and prevents land from settling and seawater infiltration. Underground water is an important part of climate change adaptation and is often a solution for people who do not have access to safe water. Despite these impressive facts, groundwater is invisible to most people. Human activities (including demographic and economic growth) and climate change are rapidly increasing the pressure on groundwater resources.

Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.

In 2022, the focus will be on groundwater, which is unlikely to be a resource with visible impacts everywhere. Underground waters are groundwater in aquifers, geological formations of rock, sand and gravel, which contain large quantities of water. Underground water supplies springs, rivers, lakes and wetlands at sea. Underground water is supplied mainly by rain and snow leaking into the ground. The invisible water can be transported up to the surface by pumps and wells. Life would not have been possible without groundwater. Underground water provides most of the water we use for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes. It is also crucial for the healthy functioning of ecosystems such as wetlands and rivers. We must protect them from excessive extraction of more water from rain and snow – and from the pollution that currently haunts them, because that could lead to their depletion.

Key messages

  • Groundwater is invisible, but its effects can be seen anywhere in the world.
  • Almost all of the world’s liquid fresh water is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, agriculture, industry and global ecosystems.
  • What we do on the surface matters underground. We must apply only harmless biodegradable products to the soil and use water as efficiently as possible.
  • Groundwater crosses borders.  We must work together to manage transboundary groundwater resources in a way that benefits everyone. You cannot manage what you have not measured.
  • Groundwater must be thoroughly researched, analysed and monitored.
  • Groundwater plays an important role in adapting to climate change. We must protect and explore groundwater and balance the needs of people and planet

“Don’t flush our planet’s most valuable resource.”

Yashni Devi
Assistant Instructor – School of Applied Sciences
College of Engineering, Science and Technology
Fiji National University