Today, March 22nd is the annual United Nations World Water Day. A day to honour, celebrate and give recognition to the vital role water plays in all aspects of life on our blue planet. It is also a day to raise awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water and to take action to tackle the global water crisis.
The theme of World Water Day 2021 is valuing water. How we value water determines how water is managed and shared. The value of water is about much more than its price – water has enormous and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment.
The UN outlines Valuing Water into five different perspectives;
1. Valuing water sources – natural water resources and ecosystems. 2. Valuing water infrastructure – storage, treatment and supply. 3. Valuing water services – drinking water, sanitation and health services. 4. Valuing water as an input to production and socio-economic activity – food and agriculture, energy and industry, business and employment. 5. Valuing socio-cultural aspects of water – recreational, cultural and spiritual attributes.
A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: Water and Sanitation for all by 2030.
Water and the Fashion Industry
From raw material to textile dyeing and consumer care, the fashion industry is dependant on fresh water, which has led to excessive consumption and pollution with negative far-reaching repercussions on society and the natural environment.
Do you work in the fashion industry?
These questions from the CFDA guideline can be used when considering any material and its water footprint.
- How much water is used in the cultivation/ extraction and processing of the material?
- Where does the water come from?
RA asks you to know and Consider:
Blue water = the amount of fresh surface or groundwater used
Green water = rainfall or soil moisture
Grey water = a measure of water pollution
(We ask you to understand the true science based facts & data, as water figures that the industry use today are inaccurate and outdated, especially in the growing of cotton. Rainfall should not be included as an impact when looking at how much water is used when growing a crop.) - read our new piece on this that will be featured as part of Discover the SDG's online digital event starting 1st April 2021. You can find RawAssembly as part of the Australian Fashion Council 's Booth.
- Do you have a way to measure quantity and quality of water coming in and going out?
- How much water is wasted? Can it be recycled?
- Is your wastewater clean? Does it go through a water effluent treatment plant?
- Is the process happening near any water sources (groundwater, lakes, etc.)? Is your process affecting that water in any way?
- If your raw material involves animals, is their waste contaminating water sources?
- Will the material require large amounts of water in terms of consumer care?
The fashion industry is using up too much water - here's how you can reduce your H2O footprint - by Emily Chan for Vogue
Water: The Important Photography Project by Mustafah Abdulaziz - Urth Magazine
"Documenting the world’s relationship with water, and in turn photographing global sustainable issues like deforestation and global warming." Rivers and lakes are the most degraded ecosystems in the world. Can we save them? - by Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic
Conversations The Water People Podcast - Watershed Chats Series
"Watershed Chats, conversational deep dives with experts and those in service of solutions for a healthier and habitable future on Planet Ocean"
A Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Ocean - a BBC documentary
"Sir David Attenborough narrates this critically acclaimed series that dives deep into the marine environment of Planet Earth."
River Blue - a film that follows international river conservationist, Mark Angelo 'RIVERBLUE brings awareness to the destruction of some of the world’s most vital rivers through the manufacturing of our clothing, but will also act as a demand for significant change in the textile industry from the top fashion brands that can make a difference.'
Water Playbook by Drip by Drip 'The first digital tool to calculate your personal wardrobe's water footprint.'
References 1/ https://www.worldwaterday.org/share 2/ https://www.unwater.org/publication_categories/world-water-development-report/ 3/ https://www.sdg6data.org 4/ https://cfda.com/resources/sustainability-resources 5/ UN World Water Day 2021 Toolkit 6/ https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/water-and-sanitation/