On March 22, the United Nations celebrates World Water Day to highlight the importance of water for humanity. Here are five (of many) reasons from UN Water why having access to clean water and being smart about water usage can help bring happiness and shape a better world for all.

  1. Families and communities can stay healthy: Water is vital to our health, but despite impressive gains made over the last decade, 748 million lack access to clean water and 2.5 billion do not have access to proper toilets. Access to water, toilets, and hygiene education keeps families healthy and women and girls safe.
  1. Children can stay in school: Water and sanitation-related diseases, such as diarrhea, are a leading challenge to children’s health worldwide, claiming the lives of 4,500 children on average each day. When children have access to clean water, they stay healthy from preventable diseases and can continue their education.
  1. Girls and women can have brighter futures: Women and children carry more than 70% of the burden of getting drinking water for their families. This often means they spend their time gathering water instead of pursuing an education or job opportunities. Having access to clean, nearby water sources empowers women to improve their futures.
  1. Communities can be more secure: Communities need water to grow food, produce energy, manufacture products, support their citizens, and much more. According to this year’s World Water Development Report, the world faces a 40% shortfall in water by 2030 unless we better manage our water resources.
  1. Growing cities can thrive and become more efficient: Today, one in two people in the world lives in a city. Urbanization is happening at such a fast rate, with 93% of the world’s urbanization occurring in poor or developing countries. Many old water supply systems waste more freshwater than they deliver, making it more important than ever that fast-growing cities are sustainable.

Safe, clean, accessible water transforms lives. Help raise awareness of this issue by joining the UN’s #wateris challenge, letting the world know what #wateris to you on your social media networks. You can learn more by visiting www.unwater.org.