Water is an essential building block of life. It is more than just essential to quench thirst or protect health; water is vital for creating jobs and supporting economic, social, and human development.

International World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.

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2019 THEME: LEAVING NO ONE BEHIND

The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind,’ which is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.

According to the UN 2019 Water development report, the human right to water entitles everyone, without discrimination, to sufficient, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use; which includes water for drinking, personal sanitation, washing of clothes, food preparation, and personal and household hygiene.

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"Access to safe water is a human right and – along with access to sanitation facilities – drives forward development" - stressed in her message on the World Water Day Ms Audrey Azoulay,Director-General of UNESCO.

However, today billions of people are still living without safe water, which means ‘safely managed drinking water service’: water that is accessible on the premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. Their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggling to survive and thrive.

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In terms of water resources, Belarus is in favorable conditions. Water supply per capita is 3.6 thousand m3, which is much higher than in many European countries: Great Britain (2.6 thousand m3), Ukraine (1.0 thousand m3), the Netherlands (0.7 thousand m3).

According to the UNDP Report "Human development indices and indicators", Belarus is one out of 34 countries, whose population has 100% sustainable access to improved water sources.

In recent years, in Belarus has been seen a stabilization in the quality of drinking water, and the proportion of water samples with deviations from the norm is less than 1 %. At the same time, according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization, water is considered safe in epidemiological terms, when the number of such samples does not exceed 5%.

Also, a national legislation in the field of drinking water quality standards is constantly improved. Since 2002, the country has implemented several stages of the state program for water supply and sanitation "Clean water". Today, work in this direction continues with the help of the same subprogram "Comfortable housing and a favorable environment" for 2016-2020. Representatives of the Ministry emphasize that the provision of clean and quality drinking water is one of the main strategic objectives.

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The purity and safety of drinking water are monitored by accredited laboratories of water and sanitation organizations and laboratories of sanitary services. However, if there are very few harmful microorganisms in belarusian water, then such a chemical element as iron is in excess of the norm. According to the Republican center of hygiene, epidemiology and public health, about 40% of all wells supply water with an iron content exceeding the maximum permissible concentration.

The main emphasis in the solution of the "iron" water problem housing and communal services nevertheless do on construction of stations of de-Ironing. Today, enterprises, belonging to system utilities, operate 598 stations for deferrization of water. And by 2020, during the implementation of the subprogram "Clean water", it is planned to build about 500 more such facilities in Belarus.

World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water – the UN’s inter-agency collaboration mechanism for all freshwater related issues - in collaboration with governments and partners. 

To ‘leave no one behind’, we must focus our efforts towards including people who have been marginalized or ignored. Water services must meet the needs of marginalized groups and their voices must be heard in decision-making processes. Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognise the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.