It’s the 21st century, and Earth faces more water crises today than ever before. Because only 3% of our planet’s water is fresh (and roughly 2/3rd of that water is locked away in glaciers and hidden spots around the world), over 1 billion people lack access to clean water entirely. March 22, World Water Day, is an annual event dedicated to bringing this global issue to light.

The theme for 2018’s World Water Day is ‘Nature for Water,’ focusing on how we can utilize all that nature gives us to conquer today’s most challenging water crises. The world is constantly faced with floods, droughts, and increasingly stronger hurricanes, which can lead to agricultural issues such as degraded soil and loss of vegetation. More often than not, the solutions to these problems are right in front of us.

Mother Nature frequently provides us with the resources we need to overcome challenges that are typically created by us. For example, green infrastructure can be implemented to manage precipitation in a way that benefits both nature and the community. Introducing green infrastructure to our cities is one effective strategy for water conservation and optimization, especially considering the planet’s increasingly urban population. Examples of green infrastructure include rain gardens, permeable pavements, green roofs, and simply green streets and parking lots. Introducing urban vegetation and more plants to our cities lowers energy levels and improves air quality all around.

Wetland restoration is another great way to improve our planet’s water cycle. According to the EPA, in order to achieve this, we must preserve and protect our aquatic resources, restore the wetlands’ natural structure and function, restore native species, and more. Wetlands are important ecosystems both in the United States and around the world as they protect shores against wave damage, prevent floods, and provide habitats for thousands of plants and animals.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion is a viable solution to the many water crises that nations face across the globe. Here at Ocean Thermal Energy Corporation, we have plans to harness the powers of this technology in the Caribbean, Coastal Africa, the Philippines, and South Pacific,  many of which contain developing countries with severe water shortages. OTE also has plans to introduce EcoVillage, an entire community built on the concept of green infrastructure and sustainability, in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

World Water Day is an important event around the world, especially for those in developing countries. Water pollution and scarcity are real and prevalent issues faced throughout the world, which those of us with daily access to clean water often take for granted. This international observance day promotes a number of education events based on the year’s theme.

Cape Town’s water crisis is a perfect example of why we as human beings need to become more resourceful when it comes to clean water access. Global water demand may reach astronomical numbers within the next few decades as population grows, with the UN expecting demand to be 30% higher by 2050 than it is today.

To best celebrate World Water Day this year, spread the word of these positive efforts and educate others as to why water conservation is so important. Visit WorldWaterDay.org for more information!