Valuing Water – World Water Day, 2021

World Water Day is an annual UN observance day celebrated on 22nd of March to highlight the importance of freshwater.

The theme for the 2021 #WorldWaterDay is valuing water. We would therefore like to use this day to appreciate our Freshwater ecosystems, which are one of our most precious resources, providing people and societies with many important benefits. Rivers, streams and lakes/reservoirs throughout the world provide water for domestic usage as well as for irrigation, for livestock watering and as a source for hydropower and recreation. Wetlands act as a sponge, absorbing and storing excess water to reduce floods and to delay the onset of droughts; wetlands trap sediments, improving water quality in associated watersheds; and freshwater ecosystems provide important habitats for many different species as well as having great cultural and recreational value. Despite their value, Freshwater ecosystems are under threat and need protection to maintain their ecosystem services in the long-term.

Understanding the state of the world’s freshwater water resources is the essential first step to protect and restore them. With the expanding number of satellites with free and open data policies and global observation scenarios, Earth Observation (EO) comes with a great potential for assisting countries and river basins worldwide with their hydrological monitoring requirements.

And in essence this is what the WorldWater project is all about, i.e., developing and transferring EO data and tools to countries and other stakeholders in need of better information on surface water dynamics to support more evidence-based planning and management of water resources, and for countries to report in response to the global water agenda.