We need far more than a day dedicated to water issues
The private sector is also engaged with World Water Day.
Companies also have used the day to launch employee engagement programs to increase awareness on water issues and commit to community projects (such as Xylem’s Watermark).
The World Water Day theme in any given year also guides the focus for other annual water events during the subsequent 12 months.
For example, the 2018 theme for World Water Day is "Nature for Water," which explores nature-based solutions to water challenges such as green infrastructure solutions.
Building on this year’s World Water Day is Stockholm World Water Week 2018, where the theme will be "Water, ecosystems and human development."
It’s clear that World Water Day serves an important purpose to focus attention on water as a critical resource for the public sector, businesses, civil society and ecosystems.
However, World Water Day is 25 years old.
Today, millions of people are still without access to safe drinking water, and about 3.4 million people annually die from waterborne diseases.
I believe to a degree our slow progress is tied to our tendency to first look for technology solutions to address water issues without tackling more challenging but cost-effective strategies such as changes in public policy or customer behavior.
Last week, I was at a one-day conference where a former general manager of a major water utility ran through the challenges related to managing water.