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World Water Day

World Water Day: March 22

Water is one of the planet’s most precious resources. World Water Day is observed each year on March 22 to promote the responsible use of water and access to safe water for everyone.

Every day, people use water for drinking, agriculture, industry, recreation, hygiene, sanitation, and health care. Water resources are precious and finite. Warming temperatures and other natural and human-made stressors threaten to impact the quantity and quality of our water on a large scale. World Water Day highlights the essential role water plays in our lives and how we can better protect it.

Access to Water

Global access to safe water, adequate sanitation, and hygiene resources reduce illness and death from disease and lead to improved health, poverty reduction, and socio-economic development. The COVID-19 pandemic has further demonstrated the urgent need for universal access to safe water, as frequent and proper handwashing with soap and water is one of the most effective actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Even so, many people lack access to these basic necessities, leaving them at risk for diseases related to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Globally, 2.2 billion people do not have safe drinking water, 3.6 billion do not have safe sanitation services, and 2.3 billion do not have access to a handwashing facility with soap and water at home.

Diarrheal Diseases

Many diarrheal diseases, such as typhoid fever and cholera, spread through unsafe water and sanitation. Although rare in the United States, outbreaks of typhoid and cholera continue to occur in settings with limited resources. Together, these diseases sicken millions, and an estimated 257,400 people die each year as a result of them.

Protecting water sources and developing and maintaining WASH systems to keep human waste out of water, food, and the environment are critical to preventing diarrheal diseases. In areas without a consistent source of safe water, people often resort to using untreated water that can make them sick.

Places with heavy rainfall and flooding may also experience contaminated drinking water and ground crops—for example, when latrines overflow. Human waste can mix with drinking water or a community’s food supply when there is no sanitation facility to safely separate waste from human contact. This can result in the spread of many germs that cause diarrheal diseases.

Water is a crucial element in preventing and treating diseases. It plays a key role in maintaining good hygiene, particularly through regular handwashing with soap—one of the most important actions a person can take to prevent the spread of germs. Safe water is also an essential part of oral rehydration therapy (ORT), which is an important treatment for cholera and many other diarrheal diseases.

CDC works to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks in the United States and around the world and provides technical support in cases of emergencies. In addition, CDC has partnered with the World Health Organization to launch Ending Cholera: The Global Roadmap to 2030, a collaborative approach to cholera prevention and control.

Learn how CDC’s programs and partnerships contribute to global efforts to address the water crisis.

What You Can Do

Everyone can play a role in celebrating World Water Day.

  • Today and every day, wash your hands at key times to avoid spreading germs.
  • Avoid wasting water; turn off the faucet when you’re not using it.
  • Raise awareness in your community about protecting water quality and availability.
  • Join a worldwide conversation on social media by sharing what water means to you using #WorldWaterDay.

Share on social media!

Share the social media graphics below to promote World Water Day and use the #WorldWaterDay hashtag.

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World Water Day: March 22

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World Water Day: March 22

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