World Water Day 2024: “Water for Peace”


First declared in 1993, March 22nd marks the United Nations’ global day recognizing the inherent role of fresh water in shaping and making life – a role that needs to be revered and protected.

Braiding forces compete for the future of water – whether we choose to protect, sell, or destabilize water supplies is inherently a question of politics and power. This year, the United Nation’s theme is “Water for Peace.” It recognizes that when it comes to water, manufactured scarcity, pollution, and inequitable access give shape to real and often deadly conflicts.

Access to water is political. War, political turmoil, and corporate agendas all destabilize access to safe, stable water supplies. Scarcity is an invention of the human hand. As Indigenous stewardship around the world has taught us, water is not just a resource to compete over that can be priced and sold – it is a human right, and more importantly it is a relationship we must cultivate.

When we forget our shared responsibility to safeguard water as that which gives life, we sacrifice our collective future.  Surface sea temperatures this February reached an all-time global high, marking the ninth consecutive month to be the warmest on record.   We are facing colossal repercussions of climate change beyond our wildest imaginations. When it comes to mass migration and political unrest, access to water will be an issue close to the heart.

The United Nations sustainable Development Goal 6 stresses access to safe drinking water and sanitation and hygiene services for all by 2030 – but in 2024, we are far from meeting this target. In Canada alone, 28 Indigenous communities remain under long-term boil water advisories. There are communities where generations of Indigenous Peoples have grown up without access to clean drinking water. Globally, billions of people remain without access to stable clean drink water and sanitation services.

On World Water Day, we call upon all OPSEU/SEFPO members to play our part in safeguarding water for generations to come. This means fighting to keeping municipal water supplies and wastewater services public, bolstering advocacy around ending boil water advisories on Indigenous reserves across Turtle Island, resisting toxic dumping by governments and corporations alike, and refashioning our own relationship to water and the land.

The future of water is our shared future.