World Water Day 2024: A Message from IWA CEO Kala Vairavamoorthy

As we mark World Water Day 2024, the International Water Association (IWA) provides global leadership on water stewardship. In a special message from our CEO, Kala Vairavamoorthy, we underscore the importance of water cooperation to address the most pressing water and sanitation challenges.

This World Water Day, UN Water reminds us that prosperity and security are deeply intertwined with water and sanitation. The message is that it is imperative we place water cooperation at the heart of our plans as we look to confront challenges such as climate change, migrations, and political instability.

Water professionals worldwide, not least members of IWA, play an indispensable role in shaping decisions for sustainable water management. Water is not merely a resource; it is a cornerstone of security. Every drop of water saved, every community provided with access to clean water, and every ecosystem restored, contributes to our collective security and resilience.

Given this, water is deserving of a place at the top of the political agenda, and we should underline that investing in water and sanitation means investing in security. Climate change can be said to be primarily a water crisis. And it is not merely about having too much or too little water; it’s about ensuring access to water of the right quality to sustain our health, livelihoods, economies, and ecosystems. Water security encompasses a broad spectrum of issues, from disasters and diseases to conflicts over shared resources and governance challenges. Yet, despite our global commitments, progress towards water security for all remains painfully slow. Indeed, by 2030, the demand for freshwater is projected to outstrip supply by 40%, leaving an estimated 1.6 billion people without safely managed drinking water. Climate change will exacerbate these challenges, intensifying the potential for conflicts over water use and access.

We urgently need better cooperation at the global level. However, we cannot overlook the inequalities that exacerbate the climate debate. It is typically the poorest who bear the brunt, compounding existing disparities within and among nations. The link between water, sanitation and climate is undeniable. This is why progress on strengthening policies and action on loss and damage offers hope, aligning action on water, sanitation and climate to address these challenges more effectively.

So, on this World Water Day, we should reaffirm our commitment to prioritise water cooperation. We must work tirelessly to overcome the obstacles to sustainable water and sanitation management, ensuring a future where water security is a reality for all. Let’s advocate for policies and practices that prioritise sustainable water management and peaceful cooperation of our shared resources.