Sunday marks 22nd World Water Day


submitted photo

ONE OF the many waterfalls located on Black River is in full run-off effect Thursday morning. (stand alone photo can be located on page 5)

Twenty-two years ago, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 as World Water Day.

Each year, a different issue is spotlighted, with this year's theme focusing on Water and Sustainable Development. The same theme is highlighted in the annual UN World Water Development Report, launched on WWD.

"For those of us living on the shore's of the world's largest supply of fresh water, the Great Lakes, and in particular Lake Superior, we need to consider ourselves guardians against threats to our water supplies," said Erica McMillan, a writer for Marquette Magazine.

According to McMillan, water technologies developed as soon as humans started to control the flow of water and have been evolving since.

"Yet, despite all our water technology advancements, we find ourselves on the verge of a water crisis," she said.

Sustainable development of water technologies is important to the future of the planet, but only if the changes are made globally will they have a lasting impact, McMillan said.

She also listed contributing factors to the possible water crisis, including, sanitation and sewage problems in many developing countries, water shortages from urbanization, industry contamination, pollution and aging water pipes in developed countries.

"We must remember that water - clean usable water - is essential to sustain life on earth," McMillan said. "For our sake and those of future generations."

This sentiment is what prompted the beginning of WWD in 1993, and is still relevant today.

Across the world, organizations, schools and more plan events to bring event more awareness to the potential water crisis.

In Houghton, Michigan Technological University's Center for Water and Society has a full schedule of water-themed events planned through March 24 in honor of WWD.

The first event was a showing of "DamNation," as part of the university's Green Film Series, on Thursday night.

According to the film's website, the film "explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers."

The MTU Great Lakes Research Center will also host Dr. Peter Goodwin at 4 p.m. on Monday, with a reception to follow. Goodwin is director of the Center for Ecohydraulics Research, DeVlieg Presidential Professor in Ecohydraulics and Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Idaho.

Other planned events include "The Texture of Water" art exhibit, opening Monday, and a panel discussion on, "What role will dams play in future water resource development?," on Tuesday, both at the GLRC.

For more about MTU's WWD events, visit

The general themes for the next three years of WWD include Water and Jobs (2016), Wastewater (2017) and Nature-based Solutions for Water (2018).

To take part in the social media aspect of the project, use the #WorldWaterDay hashtag to participate and use the #WaterIs tag to share a personal water story with U.N. Water @UN-Water.

For more information about World Water Day, visit


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