Water companies across the UK will be marking WaterAid’s world water day by “marching” in support of providing safe drinking water all over the world.
According to figures published by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, around 844 million people around the globe do not have access to clean drinking water.
Furthermore 31 per cent of schools do not have clean drinking water.
This month WaterAid is encouraging people to participate in a “march for water” to replicate the lengths some go to walk to the nearest clean water source.
Northumbrian Water will be tweeting “round the clock” for 24 hours about the processes which go on behind the scenes to ensure clean water is delivered to its 2.7 million customers across the North East.
Northumbrian’s chief executive, Heidi Mottram, said: “At a time when the public eye is very much on water, following James Bevan’s powerful speech earlier this week, it’s more important than ever that we don’t take having a clean water supply for granted.
“We have 2.7 million customers in the North East who can turn on the tap and have water any day, any time they want it and there’s a lot of work that goes into making that happen.
“This World Water Day (22 March), we want to remind our customers just how fortunate we all are by giving them a taster of just some of the many processes involved in getting clean water to the taps of every single home.”
During his speech at the annual Waterwise conference Bevan, who is chief executive of the Environment Agency, warned England could be just 25 years away from not having enough water to meet demand and is facing the “jaws of death”.
Bevan added that water companies all identified climate change as “the biggest operating risk” in their business plans for PR19.
Meanwhile Northern Ireland (NI) Water has already been visiting schools and has arranged “playground walks” to raise awareness.
Anna Killen, NI Water’s outreach and education officer, said: ‘‘WaterAid has done some great work over the years in raising awareness of the lack of water in some of the world’s poorest communities, and on World Water Day this year, we want to encourage people to raise awareness of the fact that many people don’t have the safe, clean water we in Northern Ireland take for granted.
‘‘WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.”
Southern Water said it is taking part in a number of “marches for water” across its region, including one where participants will be carrying buckets of water on an 8km walk.
Staff on the WaterAid committee have challenged themselves to walk 2,500km (approximately 3,125,000 steps) for WaterAidUK.
A spokesperson added: “They’re planning a number of different walks and events, including the lunchtime walk carrying 20 litres of water and a 20 mile hike.”
Virginia Newton-Lewis, WaterAid’s senior policy analyst on water security, said: “We all have a role to play in reducing the impact our consumption has on water-scarce communities around the world.
“Whether you’re a consumer, business or decision-maker, being more conscious about the effects of our actions on other parts of the world is crucial.
“It is unacceptable that the progress in increasing access that we have made over the past nearly two decades might now be undone.
“We need to realise that our consumption is not sustainable and take urgent action to change our ways.”