- World Water Day is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of universal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in developing countries.
- The day also focuses on 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 and the United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day.
- The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/47/193 of 22 December 1992 by which 22 March of each year was declared World Day for Water, to be observed starting in 1993, in conformity with the recommendations of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) contained in Chapter 18 (Fresh Water Resources) of Agenda 21.
- World Water Day has seen an increase in the quantity and quality of education initiatives within schools and universities, to raise awareness of the importance of conserving and managing water resources such as primary school children in the Phillipines participating in a "My School Toilet" contest in 2010.
- UN-Water selects a theme for each year including previous themes such as 'Why waste water?' (a play on words with 'Why wastewater?') in 2017, 'Water and Jobs' in 2016, and 'Water and Sustainable Development' in 2015.
- This year, 2017, focuses on wastewater and ways to reduce and reuse as over 80% of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature polluting the environment and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials.
- Organizations active in the WASH sector, including non-governmental organizations such as UNICEF and WaterAid, use the day to raise public awareness, inspire action and get media attention for water issues.
- End Water Poverty, a global civil society coalition with 250 partner organizations worldwide, coordinates a calendar of global events to commemorate World Water Day, on the 22nd and during the whole of March.
- Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
- 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year. (WHO/UNICEF 2014/WHO 2014)
- The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous and safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.