World Water Day: PM Modi launches Catch the Rain campaign

The first World Water Day was first celebrated on March 22, 1993. The initiative aims to reach the UN’s goal of water and sanitation for all by 2030.

World Water Day is celebrated on March 22, globally. This United Nations-backed event highlights the importance of fresh water in our daily lives, and advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

History of World Water Day

The observance of World Water Day was first adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 22, 1992, at the Rio de Janeiro United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. It is dedicated to spreading awareness among people who are living without access to safe water.

As per the UN’s official website, this year’s theme is on what water means to humans and how we can better protect this vital resource.

It adds, “The value of water is about much more than its price — water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.”

Children carrying a water container in Jowhar, Somalia. Image Credits: UN

World Water Day in India

In line with the theme, on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the ‘Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain’ campaign during a video conference, as per a statement issued by Prime Minister’s Office.

PM Modi also announced that every penny of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) funds should be spent on rainwater conservation till the monsoon arrives.

He said India's self-sufficiency is dependent on its water resources and water connectivity, and its fast-paced development is not possible without effective water conservation. He also urged the people to use water judiciously.

The event saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the Jal Shakti ministry and the governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh to initiate work on the Ken-Betwa Link Project.

The Ken-Betwa Link project is a river-linking project, which will work towards inter-state cooperation to carry water from areas that have surplus water to drought-prone and water deficit areas.

The 'Catch the Rain' campaign will be undertaken across the country, in both rural and urban areas. It will be implemented from March 22 to November 30 — the pre-monsoon and monsoon period in the country.

The campaign aims to take water conservation at the grassroot level through people's participation. It is intended to nudge all stakeholders to create rainwater harvesting structures suitable to the climatic conditions and subsoil strata to ensure proper storage of rainwater.

Significance of the day

The United Nations commenced observing this day to make communities across the planet aware of the significance of freshwater. It also aims to raise awareness and sensitise the global water scarcity in the wake of a rapidly climbing human population, global warming, freshwater depletion, the unequal geographical distribution of water resources, to name a few.

(Disclaimer: Additional inputs have been added from a PTI source)

Edited by Suman Singh