World Water Day March 22, 2009: Water Sharing is Crucial in the Fight Against Disease


This 2009, the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP) is joining the world community in observing World Water Day.


Child carrying water in Burkino Faso Photo from Horizon International TV program "Burkina-be: People with a Future" available at

This 2009, the Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP) is joining the world community in observing World Water Day. World Water Day is an initiative started by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) and emphasizes the need for freshwater and sustainable management of freshwater resources.

This year, World Water Day 2009 focuses on the importance of water sharing opportunities among countries. It is extremely necessary to have access to clean, potable water. But while water quality is important, the quantity of conveniently-accessible water may be even more crucial. Cooperation among nations in transboundary water sharing and management is a necessary step to help make freshwater resources available to people in all regions of the world. An increase in the amount of water available could eliminate the global burden of disease by 3 to 4 percent.

The importance of this initiative cannot be stressed enough--access to supplies of bountiful, clean water is crucial to the improvement of sanitation and hygiene. The lack of safe drinking water and water for hygienic practices, particularly in poor communities, is responsible for a plethora of water-related illnesses. Diarrhea, dysenteries, and typhoid account for over 90% of deaths from contaminated water; Water-borne parasitic infections such as Schistosomiasis affect approximately 207 million people worldwide; and hygiene-related infections such as Trachoma ravage the vision of 56.4 million women, men and children in the developing world who have little to no access to water for washing.
Visit the sites below to see some organizations around the world that are working to make clean water accessible to all on World Water Day 2009.  


World Water Day 2009 Around The World

International: Official Website of World Water Day (UNCED) | IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre

Africa: Hekima College Kenya | Ok Clean Water Project - Ottawa, Canada & Kumbo, Cameroon, Africa
DCPP has developed several technical resources to address this important issue.
Visit to read more about topics of water, sanitation and hygiene and water-related illnesses:
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene

DCPP Fact Sheet: Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: Simple, Effective Solutions Save Lives

Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Promotionby Sandy Cairncross and Vivian Valdmanis

DCP2 Chapter 41: Water Supply, Sanitation, and Hygiene Promotion

Water and Disease: Diarrheal disease as a key disease control priority presentation by Gerald T. Keusch, M.D.

Related Topics: Water-Related Illnesses

The End of Blinding Trachoma Among the World's Poor Is in Sight by Beryl Lieff Benderly

Press Release - Spotlighting Neglected Diseases: Trachoma, Leishmaniasis, and Schistosomiasis by Beryl Lieff Benderly

The Global Burden of Disease Due to Schistosomiasis  by Catherine M. Michaud, W. Scott Gordon and Michael R. Reich


Disease Control Priorities Project
Population Reference Bureau
This information was provided by Disease Control Priorities Project.
Note: Click here for an interactive map of Water Day events:


Latest articles


Air Pollution



Endangered Species




Global Climate Change

Global Health


Natural Disaster Relief

News and Special Reports

Oceans, Coral Reefs



Public Health



Toxic Chemicals


Waste Management


Water and Sanitation

Yale Himalaya Initiative