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Water... a key source of life

22.03.2022

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental right, and yet around 2.2 billion people are living without access to safe water. On World Water Day the EU reaffirms its commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably to Goal 6 on clean water and sanitation for all.

Shutterstock - Asian girl drinking water from tap

 

Extreme weather conditions increase water scarcity, erode the quality of freshwater and have an impact on a growing number of people, especially the most vulnerable groups. Water crises consistently ranks among the top 10 global greatest risks to the economy, the environment and to people, according to the World Economic Forum’s 'Global Risks' annual reports.

Disputes over water access and use have the potential to provoke and further aggravate conflicts and geopolitical instability.  Water should never be used as a weapon of war.

On the other hand, the sustainable management of water resources and transboundary cooperation is a powerful tool for conflict prevention and peacekeeping.

This year the theme for World Water Day is groundwater. Aquifers or underground water resources are shared internationally. They are invisible but crucial, since they contain huge freshwater resources sufficient enough to supply safe, good-quality drinking water.

Groundwater feeds springs, rivers, lakes and wetlands, and seeps into oceans. It is recharged mainly from rain and snowfall infiltrating the ground and can be extracted to the surface by pumps and wells. Life would not be possible without groundwater.

In its 2021 Council Conclusions on Water in EU External Action, the EU reiterated the strategic importance of water for human development, poverty reduction, environment, biodiversity as well as for humanitarian action, peace and security. The EU continues to invest in regional and multilateral cooperation to consolidate water governance at all levels as an essential constituent of peace, long-term stability and resilience.