World Water Day - 22 March

World Water Day 2024: Importance, history and Interesting facts about water

Nature Water Biodiversity

World Water Day, celebrated every 22 March since 1993, is a global initiative backed by the United Nations to highlight the importance of fresh water for our planet and the need to combat its scarcity around the world – as nearly 2.2 billion people still lack access to safe drinking water. From the Iberdrola Group, we join in the celebration of this date to raise awareness of the rational and sustainable use of this unique resource.

World Water Day

Water is a fundamental resource that sustains life on our planet. From oceans to rivers and lakes, water is indispensable for human well-being, agriculture, industry and ecosystems. However, despite its vital importance, sustainable water management faces numerous challenges, including scarcity, pollution and overexploitation of water resources.

World Water Day, celebrated on 22 March each year, highlights the importance of conserving and protecting this vital resource for the health of people and the environment. It is an opportunity to reflect on the need to adopt responsible water management practices and to raise awareness of the problems related to its access and equitable use around the world. We, at Iberdrola, celebrate this day because we believe that the union between the different sectors is essential to tackle the water crisis.

Water – a vital resource

Water is one of the most common compounds in our universe. It is essential for life at all levels, from individual cells to entire ecosystems. At the microscopic level, living things depend on water to regulate their body temperature, maintain hydration and carry out physiological processes vital to their survival.

For humans in particular, water has always played a fundamental role in their development and evolution. Early civilisations, for example, sought to settle near freshwater sources in order to take advantage of their properties for agriculture, hygiene, transport and food production. Since then, people's daily lives have always revolved around access to water, making it a vital resource for human progress.

Water stands out, among other things, for being the most abundant resource on our planet. This chemical substance – whose molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom – covers three quarters of the earth's surface through the oceans. However, despite its abundance, it remains a scarce commodity. According to the United Nations (UN), approximately 2.2 billion people still lack access to safely managed drinking water – which means that 115 million people are still forced to drink contaminated water.

As the impacts of climate change increase and the world's population grows, the need to join forces to combat this issue and conserve our most precious resource becomes ever more urgent. This is especially critical because public health and prosperity, food and energy systems, economic productivity and environmental integrity depend on the proper functioning and equitable management of the water cycle.

Origin of World Water Day

The proposal to create an annual celebration focusing on the importance of water emerged during the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. At this meeting, the need to highlight the importance of this valuable natural resource was recognised, and in the same year, 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water by the United Nations General Assembly.

The United Nations and its Member States dedicate this day to implementing UN recommendations and promoting specific initiatives within their countries aiming to raise awareness of the importance of responsible and efficient use of water resources. Every year, the different UN agencies involved in water-related issues seek to coordinate international activities during the day, while the organisation itself and the countries commit to implementing measures to save water and improve access to drinking water – recognised as a fundamental right since July 2010.

World Water Day

Celebrate World Water Day with Iberdrola.

What is the aim of celebrating World Water Day?

Before celebrating World Water Day, it is important to reflect on the objectives of dedicating an exclusive date to this basic and irreplaceable resource. UN-Water, the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism on water and sanitation, defines this day as an opportunity to "celebrate water and raise awareness about people living without access to safe drinking water". It is also about taking specific action to address the global water crisis and support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030. 

The initiative involves mobilising organisations to participate in a global public day in the run-up to 22 March, spreading the word about the cause through strategic communications and activities. Billions of people join the campaign with conversations and debates, with the aim of raising awareness around the world. In addition, on the day itself, the UN World Water Development Report, which provides tools for water policy implementation, is released.

In a global action, the General Assembly also set a series of targets for 2028. In the context of the current International Decade for Action "Water for Sustainable Development" (2018-2028), signed in 2016, the aim is to strengthen international cooperation to advance water-related goals and targets. One of these efforts resulted in the United Nations Water Conference, held from 22-24 March 2023 in New York – which marked the first international gathering dedicated exclusively to the water issue in almost 50 years.

World Water Day 2024 theme

This year, World Water Day focuses on the theme 'Water for Peace', emphasising the important role of water in promoting harmony and preventing conflict. According to the United Nations, water can be both a source of unity and a point of contention between communities – especially when access to water is unequal or scarce. The organisation itself presents an alarming statistic: only 24 countries that share rivers, lakes and aquifers with their neighbours have cooperation agreements on shared water resources.

With the increasing impacts of climate change, there is a need to promote the union among countries to work together to conserve the Earth's most important natural resource. When we cooperate on water, we create a positive cascade effect across society that generates prosperity and builds resilience to challenges. It is in this context that the 2024 World Water Day campaign focuses on international cooperation.

 Learn more about the key messages of World Water Day 2024

 Water can create peace or trigger conflict: it can increase tensions between nations with different needs and interests – especially in a water-scarce region. On the other hand, water can be a catalyst for peace at all levels if an integrated and inclusive approach is taken.

 Prosperity and peace depend on water: bilateral transboundary water cooperation must be at the heart of governments' plans.

 Water can get us out of a crisis: UN water conventions, in addition to local actions, exist to unite countries around the same goal of overcoming crises.

Water in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Water is a key element in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – a plan of action for people and the planet that was adopted by all UN Member States in 2015. Within this Agenda, we are particularly concerned with Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) ("Clean Water and Sanitation"), which seeks to ensure the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

In the context of recognising the vital importance of water for life, health and human well-being, as well as for the functioning of ecosystems, SDG 6 addresses key challenges such as water scarcity, water pollution and lack of access to basic sanitation. Combating this reality is the primary objective of this SDG, which calls for action by all sectors to promote responsible governance practices that ensure equitable and efficient management of water resources.

Aware of the importance of the use of water in its activities, the Iberdrola Group seeks to make a significant contribution to SDG 6, paying special attention to the efficient management of water resources and addressing the risks related to water scarcity. Among the actions carried out by the company for a more sustainable use of water, the following stand out:

  • Continuously improve facility processes for lower consumption and impact. 
  • Implement and control the ecological flows required by the administrations in hydroelectric power generation reservoirs. 
  • Conduct awareness-raising campaigns to achieve more efficient and responsible use of sanitary water in offices by employees.

Interesting facts about water

Water – a vital resource that is part of our daily lives – hides a series of interesting facts that often go unnoticed. Below, we review some of its most outstanding interesting facts  that reveal the importance of this element for the functioning of the planet and its inhabitants:


Water is the only element in nature that can be found in three different physical states: solid, liquid and gas.

Freshwater withdrawals

72% of all freshwater withdrawals are used in agriculture – 16% in industries and 12% in municipalities. (FAO, 2023).


42% of domestic wastewater is not properly treated (UN, 2023).

Usable water

Only 0.5% of the Earth's water is usable and accessible freshwater (WMO, 2021).

Daily consumption

50 litres of water per person per day is necessary to cover basic hygiene needs and basic food hygiene (WHO).

Body water

Water is the main constituent of the human body and accounts for approximately 50-70% of body weight.