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World Water Day

What is World Water Day?

International World Water Day is held annually on March 22nd 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 March 22, 1993, as the first World Water Day.

Each year, a new theme is picked to highlight a specific way that we can advance our water knowledge and learn sustainable and safe water practices. The theme for 2024 is "Leveraging Water for Peace."

Our Activities

Annually along with the international event, the Ohio Water Resources Center and other groups and organizations in the greater Columbus area gather to set up booths and educate various interested students on what they can do to be more water-conscious in their lives. 

This outreach event is a great opprotunity to show the student body our contribution and dedication to water issues in Ohio and also serves as an opportunity to educate and inspire the next generation of water scienctists and even just enviornmentally conscious human beings. 


The logo for World Water Day, which features a globe within a drop of water and the text "UN Water. 22 March. World Water Day."

World Water Day 2018


On March 22, for The UN World Water Day various groups and organizations around Ohio State’s main campus gathered in Ohio State’s Union to set up booths, give out information, and interact with students interested in the contemporary water issues that affect our nation and world as a whole. With participants ranging from NGO’s to student organizations, the diverse wealth of knowledge shared by these groups converged to create an interactive yet educational experience for passerby’s. This year’s theme was using nature based solutions to overcome water issues in the 21st century.

After long hours of brainstorming, preparation, and execution throughout the month of March, we set off for the Ohio Union armed with prizes, water trivia cards, and hand-out facts on green infrastructure. As we set up our booth, some of the volunteers mingled about, passing out Goldfish crackers and asking each other questions about their booths. As noon rolled around, people began to trickle in. Amongst these visitors there were undergrad students, grad students, families and researchers. At our booth, we interacted with many visitors who were interested in the research projects funded by the Center and our outreach goals. We encouraged people to spin the carnival wheel we had constructed for a chance to either answer a trivia question, learn a new water fact, or win small prizes. Our student visitors were also encouraged to participate in a drawing  we were hosting to reflect on their favorite water activities or their favorite water based movie. Some of our favorites included fly fishing, kayaking, and snorkeling for the activities, and Blue Gold: Water World, Moana, and Free Willie for the movies.

There was a feeling of unity and power in that room. In the world, it’s undeniable that we are facing global water issues. Events like this teach community members about local and global water issues and their solutions. This was my first outreach event as a communications assistant for the Ohio Water Resources Center and overall it really opened my eyes to how many different groups, organizations, and individuals put in effort to make events like this happen,  especially about issues that affect our ecosystems. Education on these issues is a huge driving force for change.


Ryan Nichols, Ohio WRC student communications assistant


Two Ohio State students spinning the wheel at the Ohio WRC booth.


What Are Nature Based Solutions?

The 2018 Theme was Nature for Water and it explored how we can nature based solutions to quell our water issues. 

Adopted from UNESCO (2018) United Nations World Water Development Report 2018: Nature-based solutions for water

Nature based solutions (NBS) can provide innovative and cost-effective options for supplementing our ageing water infrastructure. Some examples of challenges and NBS solutions are:

  • Water availability and supply - wetlands help store water while regenerated forests and soils support recharge of groundwaters especially in upper river catchments.  Green infrastructure create water retention in urban areas ("sponge cities").
  • Water quality - conservation agriculture restores soil and prevents erosion to rivers, reducing pollution. Riparian buffers planted with native species around streams, rivers and lakes further filter pollution from run off.
  • Risk management - frequent flloding can be mitigated by connecting rivers to floodplains and retaining stormwater by vegetation and gren infrastructure.


A flamingo standing in front of a body of water. The text says "Did you know that... 2/3 of natural wetlands have disappeared since 1900?"