The Importance of World Water Day
World Water Day (WWD) is a time of reflection for the global community on access to safe and clean water issues. These issues hit especially close to home for me as I experienced them firsthand growing up in Bogotá, Colombia. As a young girl, I often witnessed my family scrambling to secure buckets of tap water for cooking and washing during water cuts. The water cuts in Bogotá were driven by repairs of aging or malfunctioning infrastructure and often affected various zonal areas in the distribution network that lasted a few hours to a few days depending on the severity of the repair. The magnitude of the challenges my family experienced were relatively minor when compared to other regions in Colombia, such as Las Guajira, that still today struggle to access safe drinking water. Despite Colombia’s vast water resources, a sizeable portion of the population lives under water stress. I wondered why such richness in water resources did not translate into reliable and adequate water access for everyone.
These early experiences fueled my desire to find solutions to persistent global water security issues. My first step in this journey was studying sustainable development and water security at North Carolina State University. Now, as a Senior Project Management Specialist in RTI’s International Development Group, I provide operational and management support to the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. I’ve seen how increased and equitable access to WASH services can transform a community, advancing human health and economic development and building resilience to help communities adapt to climate change.
Each year around WWD, I’m reminded of the water challenges I witnessed firsthand as a child and the ones I now see and work to resolve through RTI programs around the world. Despite the incredible efforts of community and advocacy organizations, researchers, policymakers, and others to find solutions to global water and sanitation challenges, we still have a long road ahead to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.