As part of the UN Decade on Water, the UN-Water Groundwater Summit, to be held in December 2022, will define actions towards more responsible and sustainable use and protection of this vital natural resource.
Building up to the event, this year’s World Water Day, celebrated each year on 22 March, showcases the theme “Groundwater – Making the invisible visible”. It draws attention to the hidden water resource that has always been critically important, but not fully recognized, in sustainable development.
Groundwater makes up 99 % of all freshwater that is not frozen. It provides nearly half of the world’s population with drinking water and contributes to about half of the global food production.
For some 2.5 billion people in the world, groundwater is their one and only source of freshwater.
At ISO, World Water Day enables us to take stock of how standards are making a difference for people who do not have the water they need. Whether it’s exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater, standards are key to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population.
When we protect groundwater, we save lives and ecosystems, improve health, reduce hunger and tackle climate change all at once. We must therefore increase understanding of groundwater so we can improve its governance and protect this vital resource.
Standards are tools designed to assist policy- and decision-makers in exploring suitable solutions for complex groundwater issues. Their use at national level can accelerate the overall objectives of ensuring that groundwater resources can support their identified beneficial uses and values in an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and acceptable manner.
Reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6 by 2030 requires that we invest in adequate infrastructure, measurement and management to protect water throughout its cycle, including under ground. With 500-plus standards, ISO offers the global community tangible solutions to make the water cycle work better for every living thing on the planet.