Every year on the 22nd of March, the world celebrates World Water Day (WWD). The United Nations created World Water Day to remind us of the vital importance of water resources in our lives. Water is at the core of sustainable development and is critical for human survival. It affects all aspects of society, from socio-economic development, energy and food production, to developing healthy ecosystems. Water is also at the heart of climate change adaptation, serving as the crucial link between the society and the environment.

This year is especially important as 2018 marks the beginning of The International Decade for Action: Water for Sustainable Development. This decade is about accelerating efforts to deal with water-related challenges. These challenges include limited access to safe and sanitary water, increased pressure on water resources and ecosystems, and the exacerbated risk of droughts and floods.

Nature-Based Solutions – What is green and grey infrastructure?

This year’s theme, Nature for Water, explores how to use nature to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century. The UN recommends an increased focus on ‘green’ infrastructure to harmonize it with ‘grey’ infrastructure wherever possible.

Traditionally, increasing investment in the conventionally built or “grey” infrastructure was the most common response to water management challenges. This can include water-treatment plants, dams and levees and the expansion of sewage networks. Fortunately, more spatial planners, engineers and decision-makers are identifying and implementing cost-effective, long-term and environmentally friendly infrastructure solutions. Thus, increasing the global interest in green infrastructure solutions.

Green infrastructure includes investment measures to protect, restore, and maintain natural landscapes. For example, reforestation, restoration of riverbanks, wetlands, natural landscapes, and other activities that contribute to protecting and/or restoring ecosystem functions. For more information on Green Infrastructure click here.

Individual Action: Collective Impact

GAP Ireland firmly believes that individual action can have a collective impact.   Currently, 2.1 billion people live without safe access to water, affecting their health, education, and livelihoods. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2050, the world’s population will grow by about 2 billion people; increasing the global water demand by up to 30%. Sustainable Development Goal 6 ensures that everyone has access to safe water. To achieve this, governments, businesses and actively committed citizens need to be involved in its implementation.

Goal 6 is especially important to us here at Global Action Plan Ireland. As an organisation, we are committed to promoting sustainable lifestyles through all of our programmes, in particular, our Water Explorer programme. Water Explorer empowers students across 11 different countries to act on local and global water issues. This free, interactive, online programme encourages teams to log their water saving actions. By doing so, we can quantify the collective impact these individual actions have. Since 2015, the 441 Irish Water Explorer teams saved over 330,000,000 litres of water and 953 tonnes of CO2. In terms of water, this equals to 273,100,575 cups of tea, 4,634,434 showers, AND flushing the toilet 8,275,775 times.


This World Water Day why not commit to saving water? Register your Water Explorer team here.

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