Do the preparation task first. Then read the article and do the exercises to check your understanding.
Why do we need water?
The human body is around 60 per cent water, and we need to drink lots of water to be healthy. As well as needing clean water to drink, we need it for cooking, washing and brushing our teeth. Hygienic toilets require water – a lot of water. Each time we flush, we can use up to six litres! We use water indirectly too. Farmers, who produce the food we eat, use water to make the plants grow. A lot of water is used to produce the clothes we wear. Did you know that it takes about 2,700 litres of water to make one T-shirt?
Does everyone have enough water?
We all need water to stay alive, but more than two billion people around the world live without safe water in their homes. That's around a quarter of the world's population! Many of them live in rural communities or in places where there is war and conflict. In addition to this, climate change is making the little water they have access to more and more scarce.
What are the consequences?
If we drink dirty water or we can't wash our hands when we go to the toilet, we can catch diseases from bacteria and become ill. More than two thousand children worldwide die every day from diarrhoea caused by dirty water. In some countries, people – mainly women and children – walk many kilometres every day to get water, and sometimes the water isn't even clean! If children spend most of their day walking to get water, they can't go to school, so they don't learn how to read or write and don't get an education.
What happens on World Water Day?
In 1992, the United Nations decided to make a special day for water, and World Water Day has been celebrated on 22 March every year since 1993. On this day, many countries hold events to educate people about the problems of dirty water and to try to find solutions to provide everyone around the world with clean water.
What can we do?
A lot of charities organise fundraising events for World Water Day. People do things like sponsored walks, cycles and swims. Some groups organise events like 'Walk for water', where people walk four, eight or 12 kilometres each day in March, to see how it feels when you have to walk a long way to get your drinking water. Others do a 'Water challenge' and drink only water for a whole month. People give them money to do these things, and all this money helps buy taps and toilets and provide clean water to as many people as possible around the world. So, this World Water Day, what will you do?
What do you think are the most important things we use water for? What can we do to save water?