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World Water Day 2024: Honoring the Water



March 22, 2024

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nizhoni Begay, WPLC Communications, communications@waterprotectorlegal.org  


World Water Day 2024: Honoring the Water


Today is World Water Day, an annual event observed since 1993, and a special day at the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC).


About World Water Day (WWD)

Stemming from the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that declared March 22 World Water Day. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.  


This year's theme, "Leveraging water for peace," underscores how Water is a catalyst for either harmony or discord and holds immense power in shaping global dynamics. Scarce or polluted water sources, along with struggles for access, can inflame tensions. Balancing everyone’s water needs help stabilize the world. Prosperity and peace rely on water. As nations manage climate change, mass migration and political unrest, they must put water cooperation at the heart of their plans. Water can lead us out of crisis. We can foster harmony between communities and countries by uniting around the fair and sustainable use of–and a relationship with–Water. From United Nations conventions at the international level, to actions at the local level, Water has the capacity to bring us together.


This month we honor the Water.

This month at WPLC, our focus has been on connecting environmental issues that impact Water with social justice causes that matter deeply to Indigenous Peoples and uncover the link between them. We've dived into topics like: 

  • Green Colonialism, which sheds light on how certain “green” environmental policies and projects end up exploiting natural resources and encroaching on Indigenous lands without their consent. 

  • We've also celebrated International Women's Day by acknowledging the pivotal role Indigenous women play in safeguarding our environment, highlighting the special bond between Indigenous women and the Earth's well-being. 

  • Additionally, we've addressed the alarming threat of Militarization to water security, illustrating how it negatively impacts Indigenous rights, public health, and environmental justice.

  • Furthermore, we've explored the troubling correlation between violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2-Spirit relatives and the degradation of the Earth, especially in regions where extractive industries clash with Indigenous territories.


Through these educational posts, we aim not just to raise awareness but also to advocate passionately for the protection of water resources and Indigenous communities worldwide. We will finish March with more of this work so be sure to follow us on social media.


A Global Snapshot

Our bodies are made up mostly of water (about 60%) and our Earth is made up mostly of water (71%).

  • Despite water's fundamental role in sustaining life, 2.2 billion, 1 in 4 people, globally still live without safely managed drinking water, with 2.2 million Americans affected, including 115 million people who drink surface water.

  • Roughly half of the world’s population is experiencing severe water scarcity for at least part of the year. 

  • Water-related disasters have dominated the list of disasters over the past 50 years and account for 70% of all deaths related to natural disasters. 

  • Transboundary waters account for 60% of the world’s freshwater flows, and 153 countries have territory within at least 1 of the 310 transboundary river and lake basins and inventoried 468 transboundary aquifer systems.

  • Only 24 countries report that all their transboundary basins are covered by cooperation arrangements.

  • Every year, 297,000 children (at least 700 each day) around the world under the age of 5 die from diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water.

  • 1.4 million people die annually and 74 million will have their lives shortened by diseases related to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.


Impacts on our communities

In the United States, race is the strongest predictor of water and sanitation access. 58 of every 1,000 Indigenous households lack plumbing, compared with 3 of every 1,000 white households. Indigenous households living in the United States are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing. It is worse in some communities, as Navajo residents are 67 times more likely than other Americans to live without access to running water. The second strongest predictor of plumbing access is economic status. From Standing Rock to Line 3 to Palestine, Indigenous Peoples know these injustices.


“I remember today those that have walked before us and honor those that have taught us to stand and to fight to protect the Water. As Indigenous Peoples, we know Water is sacred. This was the fight of our ancestors, this was the fight for Haunani Kay Trask, for Berta Cáceres, for Jakeline Romero Epiayu, for Joye Braun, for LaDonna Bravebull Allard, for Myron Dewey, for Tupak Enrique Acosta… to protect the Water because She gives life, because She connects all our relations, and because Water is essential to our Self-Determination. In the fight for life and existence itself, we know “el agua no se vende, el agua se defiende” - Water can’t be sold, Water must be protected.” -Natali Segovia, WPLC Executive Director and Senior Attorney


At WPLC we commemorate World Water Day by re-dedicating ourselves and affirming our to prioritizing the rights of people over corporate interests, safeguarding this precious resource essential for all life forms, and standing in solidarity with the Water and all those who protect Her. Everyone deserves clean water. She knows no borders. At WPLC, it is our job to #ProtectProtectors to stand behind those who stand on frontlines to protect the Earth from desecration.


​​Tó éí iiná

Agua es vida

Ola I Ka Wai

Yaku kawsay

Mni Wiconi

Water is life


For Indigenous Peoples, we know the key to long-term sustainability is simple: invest in and protect the Water. The World Health Organization estimates that for every dollar invested in water, the economic return could be 430% or higher!


Join the movement.

  • Participate in our World Water Day fundraiser hosted by The Four Directions Team on Twitch! tiltify.com/+the-four-directions/protect-our-waters 

  • Share our work at WPLC with your networks.

  • Join WPLC and The Four Directions on Twitch today 12pm PT - 6pm PT.

    • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM PT Get Ready with Me for World Water Day: Join us as we kick off World Water Day with some self-care and preparation. Get ready with us as we discuss the importance of observances like World Water Day and this year’s theme “Water for Peace.”

    • 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM PT Interview with Water Protector Legal Collective: Gain insight into Water Protector Legal Collective, an Indigenous-led legal nonprofit that provides support and advocacy for Indigenous peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements. We'll be joined by Summer Blaze Aubrey (WPLC Staff Attorney) and Nizhoni Begay (WPLC Communications Coordinator) for an in-depth discussion about the work at WPLC!

    • 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM PT Gaming to #ProtectProtectors!: Unwind and have some fun while gaming for a cause! Join us for an exciting gaming session where we'll play Fall Guys and chat. Let's come together to raise awareness and support for Water Protector Legal Collective’s World Water Day campaign.

    • 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT The Four Directions Team will be closing out the World Water Day Stream with a session of the thrilling survival game, Lethal Company.

  • What does Water mean to you? Let us know by posting and tag us on social media! Use hashtags #ProtectProtectors, #WaterIsSacred, #ProtectOurWater.


Born out of the #NoDAPL Movement at Standing Rock, the Water Protector Legal Collective is an Indigenous-led legal nonprofit that provides support and advocacy for Indigenous peoples and Original Nations, the Earth, and climate justice movements. To learn more about WPLC and how to contribute, visit: www.waterprotectorlegal.org

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