World Water Day

  • Posted on: 22 March 2009
  • By: Amanda Fritz

This photo was taken at Kelly Point Park, where the Willamette joins the mighty Columbia. Today, Portland observes World Water Day, with events starting with a walk alongside the Willamette at 1 p.m. Many fun, free, family-friendly activities - please participate!

The theme of World Water Day this year is "Trans-boundary waters", meaning water that crosses national borders. The mighty Columbia is one of 263 transboundary lakes and river basins worldwide. It flows from the ice-fields at the base of the Canadian Rockies, more than 1,200 miles to the Pacific Ocean at Astoria. The Columbia River watershed is home to over 700 species of reptiles, birds, fish, and mammals.

Some facts from the World Water Day PDX site:

* Worldwide 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and each year, more than 2.2 million people in developing countries die from preventable diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

* The average American uses 100 to 175 gallons of water at home each day when an African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day.

* 88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.

* 40 billion hours each year are spent collecting water in sub-Saharan Africa, equal to over 19 million full-time employees.

* The weight of the water container that women in Africa carry on their heads is equivalent to the baggage weight allowed by airlines (20 kg/44 lbs)

One additional fact I learned when researching the issues, is that of the over 1 billion people who lack access to fresh clean drinking water, most live in Asia.