World Water Day 2015
People gather to fetch water from a huge well in the village of Natwarghad in the western Indian state of GujaratReuters

Dirty water and poor sanitation can cause severe diseases in children, killing 900 under-fives every day across the world, according to United Nations estimates – or one child every two minutes. Among newborn babies, the World Health Organisation says infections caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment cause one death every minute somewhere in the world.


The theme of World Water 2017 is “Why waste water?” The vast majority of wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture around the world flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. WWD2017 aims to promote the need for reducing and reusing wastewater for things like irrigation and cooling.

To mark World Water Day 2017, IBTimes UK presents 60 powerful photos to remind us that one in ten people don’t have access to clean, safe water.

World Water Day
A woman leads her donkeys loaded with jerrycans past the carcass of a domestic animal that died due to severe drought in Baligubadle village near Hargeisa, SomalilandRed Cross/Reuters
World Water Day
A woman fetches drinking water from a well along the dried-up Chemumvuri river near Gokwe, ZimbabweReuters
World Water Day
Residents collect drinking water from a lake in Dala township, near Yangon, MyanmarAFP
World Water Day 2016
Children collect water from a swamp in Mwea, KenyaAFP
World Water Day
People collect water from a muddy waterhole in San Marcos Tlacoyalco, MexicoGetty Images
World Water Day 2016
A slum dweller keeps an eye open fro trains as she collects water for drinking from a puddle in between railway tracks in MumbaiReuters
World Water Day 2016
Slum dwellers collect drinking water from a submerged hand-pump after heavy rains in the northern Indian city of AllahabadReuters
World Water Day 2015
Bottles tied to ropes are lowered into an almost dry well in Bhaktapur, NepalReuters
World Water Day
A plastic container with a corrugated metal sheet placed on top to collect rain water is seen in Petare slum in Caracas, VenezuelaReuters
World Water Day 2016
A schoolgirl tries to collect water from a dried-up puddle in Nongoma north west of Durban, during a drought in South AfricaAFP
World Water Day
A Bangladeshi woman collects contaminated water to rinse produce at a vegetable market, from the polluted Buriganga in DhakaAFP
World Water Day
A child fills a jerrycan with dirty water in Yarmuk Palestinian refugee camp, south of the Syrian capital DamascusAFP
World Water Day
People collect water along a dried-up river bed in Somalia’s Shabelle regionReuters
World Water Day
A boy collects water from a shallow well dug into the sand along the dried-up Shabelle River in SomaliaReuters
World Water Day
Women fight as they collect drinking water from a municipal tanker on a hot summer day on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, IndiaReuters
World Water Day
Women and children queue to fetch water in Agatu-Obagaji, Benue State, north central NigeriaAFP
World Water Day
The carcass of a caiman lies in the dried-up bed of the Pilcomayo river in Boqueron, ParaguayReuters
World Water Day
Boys collect recyclable items from polluted waters at Fish Harbour in Karachi, PakistanReuters
World Water Day
A boy drinks water from a pipe in the rebel-held besieged town of Douma, east of Damascus, SyriaReuters
World Water Day
A devotee carries a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh through the polluted waters of the river Yamuna in New Delhi, IndiaReuters
World Water Day
A man drives a boat along a polluted river in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, ChinaReuters
World Water Day
A girl sits on a boat on a dried-up pond in the drought-hit Kandal province in CambodiaReuters
World Water Day
A farmer waters a plant in Playitas town, Nicaragua, during a severe droughtReuters
World Water Day
Rsidents are seen along a polluted canal running alongside houses in a slum area of the Indonesian capital JakartaAFP
World Water Day
A man bathes in the polluted waters of the river Yamuna in New DelhiAFP
World Water Day
A woman walks on the dried-up bed of Chandola Lake in Ahmedabad with a metal pot on her head to fetch waterAFP
World Water Day
Beloni bathes his six-year-old son on a small street in Cite Soleil in the Haitian capital Port-au-PrinceAFP
World Water Day
Members of the Zionist Church perform a ritual along the heavily polluted Klipspruit River in Lenasia, JohannesburgAFP
World Water Day
A father and son paddle through a rubbish-filled river as they collect plastic bottles that they can sell in junk shops in ManilaAFP
World Water Day
Children push a cart to collect water in an area by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, PhilippinesKevin Frayer/Getty Images
World Water Day 2016
North Koreans wash their laundry as others skate on the ice on the Yalu river near the border with ChinaReuters
World Water Day 2016
A boy bathes on the side of the road in the southern Indian city of ChennaiReuters
World Water Day 2016
Bangladeshi and Rohingya migrants who were found drifting at sea collect rain water at a temporary shelter in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine stateAFP
World Water Day 2016
A boy bathes under a communal tap near a polluted water channel early one morning in Kolkata, IndiaReuters
World Water Day 2016
A woman carries jerry cans to fill them with water from a communal tap in Yemen’s capital SanaaReuters
World Water Day 2016
A migrant worker carries water for drinking and cooking from a public tap at a migrant workers’ village in BeijingReuters
World Water Day 2016
A man carries buckets filled with water on the banks of the river Ganges in Allahabad, IndiaReuters
World Water Day 2016
Residents use an improvised raft to cross a sewage canal at a slum in MumbaiReuters
World Water Day 2016
A man fills barrels with potable water from a tanker truck at Lomas de Carabayllo, a shantytown north of Lima, PeruReuters
World Water Day 2016
A man drinks water from a pump in a flooded area of Nowshera district, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinceAFP
World Water Day 2016
Pedestrians cover their noses as they cross a bridge over a polluted canal in east Bangalore, IndiaAFP
World Water Day 2016
Somalian refugees return from collecting water at the edge of the Dagahaley refugee camp in Dadaab, KenyaGetty Images
World Water Day 2015
A girl from the war-torn Blue Nile state collects water from a muddy pond in South Sudan’s Doro refugee campReuters
World Water Day 2015
A boy drinks coloured water from a pond in Bule Duba village, near the edge of Oroma and Somali regions of EthiopiaReuters
World Water Day 2015
Displaced people carry water containers on their heads at Tomping camp, near South Sudan’s capital JubaJames Akena/Reuters
World Water Day 2015
Children bathe in waste water at a slum in Jakarta, IndonesiaReuters
World Water Day 2015
A girl collects water from a hole in the ground in the Tariq district of the Saddam city neighbourhood of BaghdadReuters
World Water Day 2015
A girl uses a submerged hand-pump to fetch drinking water during floods at Dhuhibala village in the northeastern Indian state of AssamReuters
World Water Day 2015
Villagers carry pitchers filled with drinking water after visiting a well at Meni village in the western Indian state of GujaratReuters
World Water Day 2015
A man, marooned by flood water along with his his livestock, waves towards an Army helicopter for relief handout in the Rajanpur district of Pakistan’s Punjab provinceReuters
World Water Day 2015
A villager walks past a caked pond in the drought-hit Shilin County of Kunming, Yunnan province, ChinaReuters
World Water Day 2015
A man wraps a cloth around himself after a ritual dip in the polluted Yamuna river in New DelhiReuters
World Water Day 2015
Residents crowd around the only standpipe in Mabella slum in Sierra Leone’s capital FreetownReuters
World Water Day 2015
A man collects water from a storage tank on the outskirts of Suining, southwest China’s Sichuan provinceReuters
World Water Day 2015
Women collect drinking water from a shallow bed of the Siang River at Berasapori village, some 560 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of AssamAFP
World Water Day 2015
A girl fetches murky water from a hole dug near a barren well in Jamam, South SudanAFP
World Water Day 2015
A woman collects a sample of red polluted water flowing from a sewer into the Jian River in Luoyang, north China’s Henan provinceAFP
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Children push a cart with water containers along a bombed-out street in Aleppo, SyriaReuters
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The fingers of malnourished one-year-old Alassa Galisou are pressed against the lips of his mother Fatou Ousseini at an emergency feeding clinic in the town of Tahoua in northwestern Niger. One of the worst droughts in living memory destroyed much of the crop, leaving an estimated 3.6 million people short of food, including tens of thousands of starving childrenFinbarr O’Reilly/Reuters

World Water Day is observed on 22 March every year to celebrate water and raise awareness of water-related issues. One of the ideas behind having a special day is to make people think twice about how much water they waste. People who have plentiful access to water are encouraged to try not turning on their taps all day. Water is a finite resource that is fundamental to human well-being. Don’t waste it.