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World Water Day, initiated by the United Nations (UN) in 1993 and held annually on 22 March, celebrates water and reminds us of the scarcity of freshwater around the world.

The freshwater crisis is a real threat, as experienced by Cape Town, a large city in South Africa, who came very close to experiencing a total scarcity of freshwater after three long years of drought, which, thankfully, concluded in 2018. Luckily, a collaborative effort managed to avert a tragedy for the coastal city’s four million inhabitants. Several other big cities have also experienced similar crises under differing levels and conditions, including Cairo, Sao Paulo, Chennai, Mexico City, and Jakarta. The UN hopes that World Water Day will help encourage people to take action to overcome the global water crisis.

The theme for this year’s World Water Day is ‘Valuing Water’. The theme focuses on the impact of water on environmental, social, and cultural values. This theme strongly supports the 6th of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) regarding the availability of clean water and sanitation. We all play a role in ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for the environment around us.

The BOS Foundation fully supports this effort and is aware of water’s essential function as a vital resource that sustains life in the forest, the habitat for orangutans. Water, in this case rivers, also acts as a means of transportation in the forest; as a border for our pre-release islands that help protect learning orangutans from outside threats; and is a significant resource in our daily care of rehabilitated orangutans.

However, despite it appearing abundant in many places, many humans regularly face experience extreme water shortages. Data from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF shows that in 2019 at least 2.2 billion people did not have access to fresh drinking water, 4.2 billion had no access to proper sanitation facilities, and 3 billion did not have access to proper handwashing practices (source).

Considering the aforementioned data, the BOS Foundation invites readers to consider more efficient and effective ways of consuming water. The better measured our use of water, the lower the energy consumption will be required: In turn, this will lower the level of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which will help reduce the effects of global warming. Water, just like food and energy, is a global resource that needs to be consumed as wisely as possible.

Happy World Water Day! Let’s appreciate and value the freshwater available around us!

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